Sweetarts: The Politics of Exclusion, and Camping Out with Susan Sontag at the Met

“Sweetarts: The Politics of Exclusion, and Camping Out with Susan Sontag at the Met” (2019) Mark O’Connell “I have a confession to make, here, lean in a little closer, I’ll whisper it: I went to the Camp exhibition at the Met, fully expecting not to like it…”   Abstract:   Camp, historically a coded communication of queer identity has been recently dragged out of the closet and into the limelight with the exhibition “Camp, Notes on Fashion” (2019) at theRead more

“Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture” by Dr. Cheryl Thompson (Book Review)

Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture by Cheryl Thompson (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019) Abstract With her recent publication Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture, Dr. Cheryl Thompson provides an in-depth exploration of the history and evolution of the Canadian beauty industry, in particular focusing on hair products for black consumers, but within this analysis has also brought in relevant and timely discussions concerning: politics of representation, accessRead more

Sine Qua Non: An Exploration of a “Catholic Imagination” at the Met

“Sine Qua Non: An Exploration of a ‘Catholic Imagination’ at the Met” (2019) Mark O’Connell   Abstract: Recently, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a hallowed cultural institution, was transformed into an ecclesiastical couture extravaganza through the installation of the Anna Wintour Costume Institute’s latest exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. This exhibition showcased papal finery as well as gorgeous couture gowns juxtapositioned with icons from the Met’s collection in various galleries, some even installed withinRead more

Lux Perpetua: Future Pioneers Utilizing Historical Precedent as Design Innovation Within Fashion

“Lux Perpetua: Future Pioneers Utilizing Historical Precedent as Design Innovation Within Fashion” Mark O’Connell (2019) Abstract: Could the future of fashion be found in the past? As a result of the cumulative negative effects of over-consumption of fashion globally and the commensurate resource depletion this requires, as well as the sometimes catastrophic impacts on the laborers who make them, the accelerated pace of current fast fashion systems are now fundamentally unsustainable. There are however fashion producers who are putting sustainabilityRead more

Hudson’s Bay Blanket as a Symbol of Canadian Identity

An examination of the adaptive uses of the Hudson’s Bay blanket, and their selection as an iconic Olympic symbol speak to how deeply engrained they are into the imagination of Canadian identity, and elevate them to far more than just a staple trade item. The blanket can be read simultaneously as a symbol for good and ill, as it denotes both a resilient and creative spirit of adaptation, and also the complicated and sometimes devastating ties with colonial powers overseas.Read more

“Items: Is Fashion Modern?” at the MOMA

Visited the “Items: Is Fashion Modern” Exhibition at MOMA which is described on the museum website as an exhibit that “explores the present, past—and sometimes the future—of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries—and continue to hold currency today”. Some of these items are of modern vintage like Levi’s 501s, the Breton shirt, and “the Little Black Dress”, and there also ancient and “culturally charged” items likeRead more

Conference Presentation: “Rich Relations: The Evolution and Uneasy Symbiosis of Art and Fashion” May 12, 2017, Ryerson University

I presented my paper: “Rich Relations: The Evolution and Uneasy Symbiosis of Art and Fashion” at the Nouveau Reach: Past Present and Future of Luxury Conference on Friday May 12, 2017. : http://nouveaureach.ca/ (Abstract) The new Fondation Louis Vuitton (LV) is the latest incarnation of the corporate/art mega-partnership, highlighting the increasingly uncomfortable relationship between art and fashion. This research explores the cartography between autonomous art culture and fashion commerce and the increased blurring of their overlapping borders. From its earliest roots,Read more

Mark O’Connell Art Portfolio

From my explorations a monograph emerges that can include painting, collage, block prints, drawings, poetry, fashion illustration and text. Upon completion, the series is gathered together and exhibited partially in a gallery, and partially online. This hybrid installation model allows the artwork to be read both as a cohesive agglomeration, as well as a collection of individual art objects and text. I use the form of the art to mediate levels of accessibility for the content therein. The availability ofRead more

Method and Methodology; Ontology and Epistemology; Empirical and Documentary Research.

“Theory without empirical research is empty, empirical research without theory is blind.” Pierre Bourdieu (1988: 74). Qualitative research has been challenged for its subjectivity. However, empirical quantitative methods have been shown to have their own biases that can potentially limit the results of experiments due to the input and language prescribed by the discipline. In fact, an impetus for the adoption of qualitative research methodologies were the restrictive frameworks of traditional quantitative analyses, and the considerable ideological framework that is usedRead more