Object: Male Display Head
Occupation: Designer of Window Displays for Bergdorf Goodman
Location: Photograph taken at work, in mannequin storeroom.
In my career so far, I have designed more than 4000 window displays. You have to give your mannequins something to interact with. So I have commissioned, rented, bought, or made a lot of sets and props. Partly, this takes the form of constant scavenging in flea markets, on-line auctions, junkyards, and the street. A nicely hilarious prop can add instant surrealism to a window. The best props have mysterious back stories and real oomph. These are things that normal antique dealers have trouble selling because they are too monumental, odd, dominating, or absurd. But these are the objects that interest me the most.
This vintage 1970s male display head is my favorite individual prop that I have encountered. Of course, it was originally not made as a "prop" but as a practical object. These types of heads were made to display hats. This faux-wood fiberglass model was meant to represent an idealized, rugged handsomeness. But an anonymous commercial sculptor has given him an unintentionally funny bit of action. Why is this display head talking on the telephone? Is he an architect on site, a newspaper reporter, a wheeler-dealer?
People tell me "you must have a very fun job". Keeping this good-time guy in my office reminds me that they are right.