Barbie's Ill-Fated Affair | Letters | Chicago Reader

Barbie's Ill-Fated Affair 

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To the editor:

The unnamed Mattel, Inc. publicist quoted in Michael Miner's report on the discredited Barbie exhibition ("New Art Examiner's Toy Story," January 5, 1996) continues to rattle off the type of half-truths and self-serving remarks which have tainted this radically censored show. For the umpteenth time, I must set the record straight. First, I have a signed contract with the organizer, Exhibitions International/David A. Hanks & Associates; Mattel is mentioned nowhere in the document. Furthermore, there is no provision for editorial oversight by Mattel, nor any stipulation for rejecting my catalog essay. Second, every check I received in payment was issued by the organizer, not by Mattel. Mattel may have known all along what it was up to, but it neglected to reveal its motives or the depth of its involvement to most of the key players until late into the process. Third, Mattel is not the publisher of the catalog; you guessed it, Exhibitions International is (just check the title page). But it's an interesting misperception, additional evidence of how Mattel has relentlessly attempted to usurp power throughout this ill-fated affair.

And this publicist is peeved? C'mon! Mattel could have prevented headaches all around if it had used its in-house lackeys to produce the sort of a-critical infomercial which it demanded. Instead, it acts innocent--just like Barbie, its primo product. Don't trust either of them.

Dr. Steven C. Dubin

New York

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