“Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” at the Whitney

Had the great pleasure to view the superb exhibition of the work of Hélio Oiticica, at the Whitney: “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is the first full-scale U.S. retrospective in two decades of the Brazilian artist’s work. One of the most original artists of the twentieth century, Oiticica (1937—1980) made art that awakens us to our bodies, our senses, our feelings about being in the world: art that challenges us to assume a more active role. Beginning with geometric investigations inRead more

Fashion Archival Research

“Fashion brings together creative authorship, technological production and cultural dissemination associated with dress, drawing together designers, producers, retailers and all of us who wear garments.” (Fletcher, Grose & Hawken 2012: 8). During a recent visit to the Archives Ontario facility at York University, I toured the restoration lab and looked at rare photographs, and learned about histories that were not included in the dominant discourse. If you are not familiar with the archive you can learn more about it here:Read more

Stolen Goods: Plagiarism and Fashion Scholarship

“Arsenic Dress”: English or French, c. 1860s The Fashion Research Collection at Ryerson University. Gift The Racked website, recently published a piece on toxic clothing that appears to be an unattributed reproduction of a body of work by Ryerson University fashion scholar Dr. Alison Matthews David. The Racked post even includes a photo of the arsenic dress from the popular “Fashion Victims” exhibition at the Bata Shoe museum in Toronto that Matthews David and Bata head curator Elizabeth Semmelhack co-curated. http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/fashion-victims/Read more

The Emic and the Etic

Stumbling Block Word: Environment en·vi·ron·ment noun the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. synonyms: habitat, territory, domain the natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity. synonyms: the natural world, nature, the earth, the planet, the ecosystem, the biosphere, Mother Nature; This is the dictionary definition of “environment”. However, there is another aspect to this term, which is the one that conflates the term with “nature”, and all of the accompanying associationsRead more

Fashion Sustainability Principles and Definitions

There is an art that kills and an art that gives life. The fine fabric that we import from the West or the Far East has literally killed millions of our brothers and sisters, and delivered thousands of our dear sisters to a life of shame. True art must be evidence of happiness, contentment and purity of its authors (Gandhi 1929). Value and fashion. Fashion used to be very valuable, now it is treated like garbage-to-be. Luxury is not luxuriousRead more

Second Hand News: Cultural and Economic Messages Encoded in the Consumption of Used Garments

Second Hand News: Cultural and Economic Messages Encoded in the Consumption of Used Garments Mark O’Connell@2015 no reproduction without permission Velvet fragments with Medici arms, 1440–1500 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/46.156.118 ABSTRACT: Adoption and re-use of textiles and garments has been practiced by all textile-producing cultures. The manner of consumption of second hand clothes has been dictated and redefined by cultural directives specific to where the practice was taking place. Prevailing cultural, classist and economic factors can change how a second-hand garment will beRead more

Set Dressing: Courbet’s “L’Atelier du Peintre” and the Power of Fashion

“Studio Dressing: Courbet’s ‘L’Atelier du Peintre’ and the Power of Fashion” Gustave Courbet : “L’Atelier du Peintre. Allégorie Réelle Déterminant une Phase de Sept Années de ma Vie Artistique (The Artist’s Studio. A Real Allegory of A Seven-Year Phase of My Artistic Life)” (1855), Collection Musée D’Orsay, Paris. “I have studied, outside any system and without prejudice, the art of the ancients and the art of the moderns. I no more wanted to imitate the one than to copy the other;Read more

Glamour is Not Gamine

Glamour is not Gamine: Thoughts on the Construction of Modern and Historical Glamour ”Adorned with the most modern artifices, beautified according to the newest techniques, she comes down from the remoteness of the ages, from Thebes, from Crete, from Chichén-Itzá; and she is also the totem set up deep in the African jungle; she is a helicopter and she is a bird; and there is this, the greatest wonder of all: under her tinted hair the forest murmur becomes aRead more