Magazine article Artforum International

Kith and Ken

Magazine article Artforum International

Kith and Ken

Article excerpt

Dolls and their houses have agendas. As any child lucky enough to be given a dollhouse can tell you, once the treasure is set on its playroom plot, her (or his) favorite dollies must fit comfortably through the door or face exile in a neglected kid's-room corner with the rest of the toyland homeless. Many children have learned, to their sorrow, that squeezing Barbie's head through a narrow Colonial casement wrecks home and hairdo both.

Of course, this is the architect's agenda as well: The inhabitant must fit the house. Peter Wheelwright, chair of the architecture department at New York's Parsons School of Design, has joined with Laurie Simmons to drive this point home by fashioning the Kaleidoscope House. Produced by Bozart Toys, a firm specializing in artist-designed playthings, the plastic, 1:12 scale, neomodernist self-assembler has a white frame, a deep blue, arced-slab partial roof, and transparent sliding wall partitions in Pokemon hues similar to those used in see-through CD players. Some of these walls overlap, giving a modicum of domestic privacy (along with a somewhat muddy exercise in Albers's color theory).

What mode of family is suited to such an open, rainbow life? Daddy is an action figure modeled after the architect; Mommy, who also moves, is modeled after Simmons--and dons her best Donna Karan duds. …

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