Barbie in Altered States Ready for Visitors

Poor Barbie's been through a lot. She's been an palenotologist, a tennis star, a cowgirl, an astronaut -- and now she's been recycled.

The Altered Barbie Exhibition kicks off this week, with art installations featuring Barbie dolls in configurations that Mattel could never have predicted.

"The Altered Barbie Exhibition is a local creative re-use art show," organizers say. The event showcases works of art that involve Barbies -- or pieces of her. There's the Barbie Eggplant ("quite a dish"), a spider Barbie, a Barbie BBQ, and a photograph of a naked Barbie in some straw that is going for $400. There's also a fetching sculpture involving some asparagus.

But there's more to Altered Barbie than exhibits. Over the course of several days, they'll be offering panel discussions, Barbie poetry readings and belly dancing. Why not?

The event has a contentious legal history. Originally, Mattel sued to stop the show but a court ruled that the toy company's claims were "objectively unreasonable," and that the artworks are protected free speech. They're something, all right.

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