The Uptown Art Fair, has selected Minnesota photographer Nicole Houff as the art fair’s 2017 commemorative artist. Houff’s Barbie-inspired photography will be the focal point of the official print for the 54the Annual Uptown Art Fair, which runs August 4-6, 2017. The commemorative print will be unveiled Tuesday, May 23, at 6:15 p.m. at LynLake Brewery in Uptown.
Houff, an 18-year Uptown Minneapolis resident, has a self-proclaimed “mild obsession” with Barbie. She’s photographed the doll and cultural icon in more than 100 scenes, producing studio-quality prints that evoke whimsical, often satirical situations. Her collection hovers around 40 dolls and hundreds of outfits, accessories and props. To Houff, Barbie is a positive, strong and empowering figure and her work often catalyzes conversations about society, gender roles and equality.
Houff has shown her prints at a variety of galleries, festivals and exhibits including Uptown Art Fair, Mpls Photo Center, Gamut Gallery, Intermedia Arts, Nash Gallery, Robbin Gallery, the Minnesota State Fair and the Twin Cities Pride Festival. You may have also seen a print or two of hers at Betty Danger’s Country Club in Northeast Minneapolis.
“I love that Barbie is a conversation starter. People come up and talk to me at my booth about what she means in today’s culture,” Houff said. “One little girl even photographed her own dolls after seeing my photos and showed me her pictures – that was pretty awesome. I’m honored to be this year’s Uptown Art Fair commemorative artist and look forward to having many more conversations with fair goers.”
This year – in honor of Houff’s work – the Uptown Art Fair, along with City Pages, is presenting an art contest open to the public. The “All Dolled Up Contest” invites individuals, youth and groups to grab their cameras (or phones) and capture Barbie, Ken, Skipper and the gang (or any action figure, doll, pony, etc.) in a creative light. Submissions can be uploaded to the Uptown Art Fair website now through Sunday, July 2. Houff will be among the contest judges and winners will be featured in the City Pages print and digital editions in late July, as well as on the Uptown Art Fair website and social media pages.
For more information on Houff, visit www.nicolehouff.com