Fowler, oh Fowler, wherefore art thou so strange?

I have not been inside the Fowler Museum till this quarter during my time at UCLA and regret that I have not gone sooner because it is so interesting and beautiful. The highlighted exhibit was “Making Strange” by Vivan Sundaram. He obtained his education from India and continued studying art in London. I thought this exhibit was probably the strangest that I have encountered, hence the name. From the video that was playing in the exhibit, it seemed as though that Sundaram was trying to literally combine art and science together. At first, I did not understand how this exhibit was bioart, like some things that I have encountered throughout the quarter. There were a lot of mannequins with clothes and modeling fashion that looked more futuristic and creative to me than bioart. Once I went deeper into the exhibit and watched the video that describes the assembly behind the exhibit, I thought what Sundaram was pretty innovative, as I do not believe that anyone has done what he had done. However, it was not new towards combining medicine and science.

Photo credit: Me

The idea was that he would take parts of mannequins usually placed in clothing stores to display the newest and hippest clothing and fashion of the company and attached it to medical instruments. Many of the instruments were human body models that doctors and professors usually use to explain a process that is occurring within the body in relation to that. I believe he said that he wanted to put more focus on the mannequins that are usually obscured and not given much attention to when used in commercial settings. I thought this was intriguing because what he said seems true, especially in today’s society where capitalism dominates. Most consumers would buy an item if it was modeled by a real person and looked good on it because it represents subconsciously how they feel they would look like in that same piece of clothing. Looking at a mannequin, especially a headless and faceless one does not provide them with that same idea.


Photo credits: Me

One of the more interesting pieces was a mushroom that was made of balls. I think they were stress balls, but I was not quite sure since I could not really find a sign or a description. I also could not really figure out how it related to the exhibit but thought it looked really appealing.
Another interesting piece I saw at the exhibit was a mannequin whose attire was made from what looked like empty IV bags or bags that are used to transfer liquids into and out of a body in the hospital made of a similar material.


Photo credits: Me

I was curious about the Fowler Museum and decided to take a look at other exhibits. My favorite one is “Reflecting Culture,” which is a collection of silver and a permanent exhibit in the museum. It had a lot of amusing exhibits, including comparing Russian and American styles. There was a third style, but I cannot remember exactly which country contributed the pieces. This experience was very enlightening and I am glad I got to attend Fowler Museum before graduating.

  1. "Artist Creates Mannequin Art Expo In NY Museum." Clapway.  27 Mar. 2015.  <>.
  2. Brown, Mark. "Artists’ Mannequins Exposed in Full at Cambridge Exhibition." The Guardian. The Guardian, 12 Oct. 2014. <>.
  3. "Exploratorium: Revealing Bodies: Art & Artifacts: Wax Medical Model." Exploratorium: Revealing Bodies: Art & Artifacts: Wax Medical Model.  <>.
  4. "Heart of Glass: The Art of Medical Models." Conde Nast Digital. <>.
  5. Hermanson, Tove. "Mannequins in Art." The Huffington Post. <>.
  6. "10 Unique Art Projects Using Mannequins or Mannequin Parts." The Mannequin Madness Blog.  <>.
  7. Williams, Amanda. "Don't Call the Police, It's Only Art: Bizarre Mannequin 'hoodies' Invade the Streets of Rome." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 10 Dec. 2012. <>.