“I got sick of the question, ‘why aren’t you married?’ over and over again,” says artist Suzanne Heintz of the inspiration behind her photo series “Playing House,” which opens at the Joanne Artman Gallery on November 12. For the past 14 years, Heintz has toted a primped maniquin husband and child around the globe in order to photograph herself amongst this faux nucleaur family. This 1950s esque parody exposes the societal pressure women continue to face.
“If you think it’s hard traveling with your family, imagine traveling with a family of mute quadriplegics,” jokes Heintz. The trio has been photographed everywhere from the Eiffel Tower, to Big Ben, to countless other iconic sites. Not only does Heinz expertly imitate glossy J Crew style magazines with perfectly color coordinated outfits, she also toys with the classic girlhood game of dress up. In this sense, Heintz intentionally fulfills societal expectations while displaying a plastic sheen behind the convention.
By questioning the origins of the “shoulds, the oughtas, and the have tos,” Heintz calls her viewers to transcend the feelings of inadequacy and isolation that come with veering from convention. In this follow up to her series Life Once Removed, Heintz presents both impossibly cheery scenes while capturing the drudgery and mundanity of day to day married life.
“Art is supposed to be hard, that’s what makes it worthy of your attention. It’s important,” concludes Heintz at the end of the trailer for her forthcoming documentary film. Her important message? Question conformity.
“Playing House” will be on view at the Joanne Artman Gallery in NYC until December 31st.
All images courtesy of the artists.