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  • Carol Ann Wilson

Have You Seen Linda?

Updated: May 22

If you are ever in the vicinity of Denver, Colorado, don’t miss a chance to see Linda. It’s an unforgettable experience.

In an elaborate casting procedure, John DeAndrea creates his sculptures directly from the bodies of his live models. He paints the sculptures in flesh tones and adds details including human hair, eyelashes, and glass eyes, to create highly realistic representations of the human body. Linda is only on view for a short time each year because she is made of polyvinyl, a type of plastic that breaks down chemically over time when subjected to light.

Since her debut, "Linda" has been forcing people to question what's real, and what's not. Fans at the Denver Art Museum remember seeing her opening day back in 1984.

"It's amazing to see how real she looks, and I remember thinking and telling my mom, 'She's breathing.'

"Linda" is a sculpture of a sleeping woman whose realness is now mystifying the next generation.

"My 7-year-old who is here with me today said, 'Mom, I think she's really alive.'

"It's just amazing to think that an artist can be that precise and realistic," another woman said.

The artist used poly-vinyl material, which allowed him to make minute details. The drawback is that the material is sensitive to light, so every viewing of "Linda" has a ticking clock.

Linda was created in 1983, but makes only occasional appearances before the public because the same bright lights that bring out the details — every wrinkly knuckle, each mole and goose bump — are bad for her skin. For the last six years "Linda" has been kept in a climate controlled darkened room to ensure her preservation.

SPOILER: Linda just finished her appearance for this year. Watch for future dates.

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