Is Body Modification the Future of Fashion? This New Pop-Up Museum Envisions a Creepy Craze

Celebrity PR guru Simon Huck has created an alternate high-end reality.

"The Pinnacle" by A. Human. Photo courtesy of BFA.

New York’s latest pop-up museum is expanding the definition of what it means to be human. For “A. Human,” celebrity PR guru Simon Huck has fabricated a vision of a not-so-distant future where image-conscious fashionistas morph their bodies into animal-inspired hybrid beings.

For $40 timed tickets ($70 for after-hours tickets on Fridays and Saturdays), viewers can amble through a fantasy-infused salon and see such spectacles as a pair of high-heel implants shaped like a nautilus shell and frilly ridges of skin around a neck in the matter of a Tudor ruff.

These are purported to be dramatic makeovers, but most of the examples on display feature live models wearing hyper-realistic makeup and prosthetics by designer Nicola Formichetti and makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench. To add to the illusion, theatrical director Michael Count has isolated each redesigned body part, burying heads and shoulders in piles of mulch, say, or displaying legs and torsos in boxed displays with the rest of the body hidden beyond the frame.

But while a body-modification museum might sound disturbing, Huck says that isn’t his aim. “I’ve always loved science fiction, especially stories that don’t feel dark or dystopian,” he told artnet News in an email. “Our aim was to present these modifications in a way that felt inviting, fashionable, and rooted in self expression. At A. Human, we believe that everybody, at every stage of life, should have the freedom to make their own choices about how they look, feel, and experience the world.”

"The Tudor" at A. Human. Photo courtesy of BFA.

“The Tudor” at A. Human. Photo courtesy of BFA.

The models—who, with incredible stamina, hold as still as mannequins—are displayed as if they were for sale, suggesting that such exotic cosmetic enhancements could one day be as commonplace as jewelry or handbags.

The installation, billed as “an immersive theatrical experience,” also includes fitting rooms, which double as photo opps for viewers to pose with some of the bizarre accoutrements—or what A. Human dubs an “alternative reality fashion brand.” There’s also, of course, a gift shop.

As part of the PR campaign for the installation, which is on view through September 30, Huck has enlisted celebrity pals such as Andreja Pejic and Chrissy Teigen to sport some of the far-out fashions “available” in the A. Human line on social media. Kim Kardashian, for example, posted a video on Twitter with an “implanted” alien-looking necklace that supposedly lights up with each beat of her heart, blurring the line between what’s real and fake in the world of A. Human.

But although Huck has appeared on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, don’t expect to see any lip augmentation as part of his inspiration. “We didn’t want to root any of our modifications on the idea of existing insecurities or discomforts,” Huck told Vogue.

See more images from A. Human below.

Installation view of “A. Human.” Photo courtesy of BFA.

Installation view of “A. Human.” Photo courtesy of BFA.

Installation view of “A. Human.” Photo courtesy of BFA.

Installation view of “A. Human.” Photo courtesy of BFA.


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