Plastic Pink Flamingo – Portraits at Art Basel Miami Beach
Random visitors to the art fair were invited to pose, without prompting, with the plastic pink flamingo for a formal portrait. I set out to examine the relationship between my subjects and the object – a study of socio-psychological behavior, if you will - and to feed my playful curiosity.
I documented visceral reactions as well as deliberate poses. Some participants personified the object and some exhibited behaviors of maternal instincts and even predation. Others simply treated it as an inanimate prop, creatively posing with it to distinguish themselves from others.
The resulting portraits are stoic or amusing. They may reveal the participant's personality, fashion trends, vocation - and perhaps - the subject's social status. Each subject’s interaction with a simple lawn ornament implies an ephemeral equality, blurring the lines between proletariat and glitterati - if merely an idealized one.
[Foot Note] Production of the original plastic pink flamingo, designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone, ceased in June 2006, just shy of its 50th birthday. Its manufacturer, Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts, closed the factory.
The plastic pink flamingo had proliferated front yards during the spread of American suburbia. Labeled by art critics at the time as lowbrow kitsch, the popular mid-century lawn ornament was elevated to iconic status 50 years later, blurring the lines between kitsch and high art.