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Bombshell,1999

from the series Exploding Couture
White crepe dress with monofilament and turnbuckles
192 x 240 x 240 inches
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

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Artist Statement

Bombshell began with an 8-foot-high reproduction of the white dress immortalized by Marilyn Monroe in the film The Seven Year Itch. The dress was then cut into hundreds of pieces, as if it had been blown apart by an explosion, and the pieces suspended in midair. Bombshell is part of an ongoing series of works entitled Exploding Couture, which, Day says, represent women "extracting themselves from the props of social conventions." The title Bombshell, an epithet for voluptuous stars such as Monroe in the 1950's is part of Day's deliberate conflation of the symbolism of sex and violence. The dress fragments, arranged to configure a mushroom cloud, encourage this ambiguity. But rather than sinister or dryly analytical, the Exploding Couture series is meant to be celebratory, capturing states of active, even rapturous, transformation.