New York city-based artist Jennifer Rubbell has taken the idea of women as ball busters in a literal sense. Quite different from their traditional holiday counterparts, these eighteen pre-fabricated female mannequins are entirely life-size and scantily clad. They stand on their sides awaiting the handy work of passersby to place a nut upon the inner thigh of each form. Once the left leg is pulled down to meet the right, a nut is perfectly cracked and left ready for consumption. In many ways, the collection brings a new understanding to art/audience participation, as well as an awe-inspiring sensation of clever hilarity – as the fourth wall is broken, so is a nut. But the words of Jennifer Rubbell are more telling:
“I was inspired by nutcrackers depicting female figures – and in particular one found on the internet of Hillary Clinton – these interactive sculptures embody the two polar stereotypes of female power: the idealized, sexualized nude female form; and the too-powerful, nut-busting überwoman. The work also serves as a prompt to action, encouraging the viewer to transgress the traditional viewer-artwork boundary and complete the work by participating in it.”
In its entirety, Rubbell’s work places itself in various realms such as mass production, politics, femininity and female empowerment, and even fashion. As a woman, I see her pieces as both liberating and ingenious. Her concept makes you wish you came up with it first, her mannequins essentially force you to make a purchase, and her cracked nuts bring forth hunger. All in all, these ball busting nutcrackers bring new meaning to ‘art created by women’ and ‘feminist art.’ Nicely done, my dear!
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