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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mannequins, usually used to display garments, turn into art objects themselves in a new exhibition dedicated to mannequin designer and manufacturer Ralph Pucci.
"Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin" at New York's Museum of Arts and Design is the first exhibition to explore the work of Pucci, who is widely recognised for his innovative approach to the more familiar and ubiquitous mannequin form.
On display are his works from over 30 years showing mannequins of all sizes, face shapes and expressions.
"He has really opened up the possibilities of what a mannequin can be," museum director Glenn Adamson said, describing Pucci as "the most influential mannequin designer of his generation".
"By making it abstract, athletic, by working with all these extraordinary artists and designers, he's taken a design form that almost once was ... a little bit anonymous ... and he's made that not only into a subject of interest in its own right but actually something that makes the clothes look better."
The exhibition displays 30 of Pucci's biggest designs and an in-gallery recreation of the studio where his longtime collaborator, sculptor Michael Evert, casts the clay models.
Pucci, who began his career when he joined his parents' New York-based mannequin repair business in 1976, has worked with fashion and design names such as Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Sui and model Christy Turlington among others.
"They're fine-tuned mannequins. They're sculpted beautifully by Michael Evert. The ideas are ahead of the curve and they're timeless," Pucci said.
"We just listened to the creative spirit that's in the world that wanted to speak to us ... If you listen and have your eyes open, it's easy to create."
The exhibition runs until August 30.
Reporting By Sharon Reich and Reuters Television in New York; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Catherine Evans