In these grave times, art and fashion may seem, more than ever, like luxuries. But they are inextricably intertwined with everyday life, including political life. Think of the pink pussy hats that thousands of women knitted themselves to wear to the Women’s Marches on January 21.
Is fashion art? The perennial question. Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has said, “I find it extraordinary […] that in this day and age people are still debating it.”
It is a polite exaggeration to say that MoMA has an idiosyncratic history of exhibiting fashion—but when we have done so, we have made it count.
Last weekend, I went to see Damien Chazelle’s delightful La La Land. At the cinema, I had to pass two large vitrines displaying slightly retro garments.
Long dismissed due to a pervasive, often moralizing distrust of fashion’s ostensible frivolity, studies of clothing and fashion have lately emerged as vibrant intellectual forces within the humanities’ material turn and art history’s embrace of material culture.
In French art of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the representation of fashionable garments provided artists with a pretext for visual elaboration: for playing with mediums of oil paint, chalk, pencil, and ink, for getting lost in the pleasure of gestural mark-making.
In late fall of 1924, Sonia Delaunay contributed an unusual work to the annual Salon d’Automne. Her submission comprised eight rectangular pieces of printed silk fabric, each bearing a different brightly-colored geometric pattern.
The Costume Designer (1950), a documentary created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, showcased the legendary costume designer Edith Head and provides a compelling demonstration of the power of costume.
Wearing a stretched canvas can be difficult when driving or on the subway, but if the form of the work is something that customarily fits a human being, it makes things more straightforward.
Feeling sick: put on that favorite pair of fuzzy pajamas. Date tonight: put on my best black jeans and favorite denim button-up shirt cause they look great.
I began to make garments when I was undergraduate in college. I was studying with feminist artists at Brown, and my work at the time attempted to complicate ideas of femininity and sexuality. I was deeply inspired by Judith Butler’s ideas around the performativity of gender, and wanted to make artworks in which a performer could become a part of an alternative symbolic language and inhabit a new body.