Please explain what just happened.

I’m guessing you just clicked on The Nervous Breakdown’s Arts & Culture tab.And perhaps you had to scroll down a little.


What is your earliest memory?

Dressing up as Queen Esther for Purim.Which is odd, since I’m not Jewish.



If you weren’t an artist, what other profession would you choose?

I loved teaching high school — I’d like to go back to that someday.Yes, really.



Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

Milk, yogurt, numerous containers of too-much-to-throw-out-but-not-enough-for-an-actual-meal leftovers in various stages of decay.



Is there a time you wish you’d lied?

See Question #4.


What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

The bra strap slipping down — it’s not sexy.It just looks like your clothes don’t fit.

If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?

Survival Story by the Flobots.


What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?

(Insert sound of laughter) I’m lucky if I can check my email on a daily basis.


From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

I love other people’s art — photos, novels, paintings, songs.  As artists, we’re all trying to describe some piece of our human experience, whether it’s a huge, universal idea or one that’s relatively trivial in the grand scheme but that’s important to someone here and now.Seeing the thoughts other people are trying to depict triggers ideas for me.


Name a book that changed your life.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.Long story.


If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?

I feel like the “right” answer is the birth of my daughter — but really, who wants to relive excruciating pain?



How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

My brother’s college swim coach went to school with Brad Pitt, who was in some movies with Kevin Bacon.Wait, that’s only five.OK, my husband’s brother-in-law’s college swim coach…


What makes you feel most guilty?

Things I didn’t do intentionally.If I did it on purpose, I’ve rationalized it to the point that I’m fine with it.




What would you most like to have invented?

A teleporter.



What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Don’t go to bed mad.” Who came up with that?If you stay up, you’re just mad AND tired.Not a good combination.



What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

You deserve a relationship with someone who helps you to be more than you already are, not someone who tries to make you less.


What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

When you show up on the first day of sixth grade wearing your “Be Fri” necklace, and your friend “accidentally” forgot to put on her “st ends” one.And she keeps forgetting.Not that I’m bitter about this.


Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?

Jeopardy. I wouldn’t win, but it wouldn’t be a total humiliation.


What do you want to know?

What goes on in other people’s minds.


What would you like your last words to be?

“That was AWESOME!”

Please explain what will happen.

I’m going to brush my teeth and go to bed.I’ve got no idea what you’re going to do.Goodnight.

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“On the surface, Barbie appears perfect. She’s beautiful, has great clothes, several good careers, and a perpetual smile on her face. As a child, I was always bothered by that smile - I put her through any number of tragedies, but no matter what befell her, she kept that fixed little smirk. As an adult, thinking about that fixed expression of pleasure made me start to think about what she might be hiding behind the façade of perfection - after all, how great could life really be for a woman who clearly has an eating disorder, an addiction to plastic surgery, and nothing between her ears? My photographs portray the dark side of life in the Dream House: Barbie’s obsession with her body, Ken’s quest for sexual gratification, all the dirty little secrets they attempt to hide as they present themselves as icons of the American Dream.”

SARAH HANEY is a fine art photographer working in Denver, Colorado. Her current work depicts the tragic lives of Barbie and Ken - all the dirty little secrets they attempted to hide behind the closed doors of the Dream House are revealed in her black-and-white photographs. All of Haney’s photographs are shot using 35 mm film and are printed by the artist. The prints are done on double weight fiber paper and are selenium toned for archivabilty.

Haney received her BFA from the University of Colorado - Boulder and is the co-director of Core New Art Space, a Denver cooperative gallery.  

10 responses to “21 Questions with Sarah Haney”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Love these pictures! And the interview.
    Fantastic stuff!

  2. It’s so great to have you here, Sarah.

    Having been a child that could never quite understand Barbie, this has been great to see. The dark side of the dream house just makes so much more sense to me.

  3. Slade Ham says:

    I am such a fan.

  4. Darlene Morgan says:

    Finally, I find Barbie and Ken interesting! Very interesting work, Sarah. I look forward to seeing more.

  5. Anthony says:

    I love the ken in drag shot, It touches me on a very personal level, I like feeling pretty too.

  6. Gloria Harrison says:

    I just read this with my sons next to me. They’re 8. They laughed a lot. I explained the pictures to them:

    Barbie’s leg is in the air because she fell over drunk.

    There were a lot of photos that I had to tell them I didn’t understand. I guess I’m simple. Nonetheless, they thoroughly enjoyed this.


  8. Lindy says:

    These pictures are truly hilarious, but in a surversive way, which I always think is interesting. I was searching for a topic on an essay I have to write for an art class on a current artist or a current artististic event, and I plan to write about your Barbie and Ken expose, if you don’t mind. Your work is so original and clever and I’m glad that I discovered you!

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