The latest exhibit on display at the Museum of Modern Art is a massive investigation into the idea of fashion as modern art. It is the museum’s first exhibition on fashion in over 70 years and focuses on 111 different items and their respective histories, backgrounds, influences and roles in society.
Naturally, the viewer is shown a variety of “The Little Black Dress,” assorted suits (such as the signature Thom Browne number displayed above), Levi’s 501’s, and introduced the ideas of clothes as power, identity and self - but the MoMA dives deep throughout this show, discussing the impact of World War II on style and fashion, Fitbit and it’s role in today’s culture of “the quantifiable self,” and clothing in relation to the idea of Existenzmaximum, serving as a cocoon or shelter from not just the elements but extending our private space within the social sphere.
While Kay and I made our way through the sprawling show we definitely observed more than one whining husband dragged there unwillingly (“why is this in a museum?!” and “how is this art?!”), but Items is a phenomenal show, not only from a stylistic standpoint - but a historical one as well (for a minor example, did you know the word "khaki" comes from the Urdu word for "dust-covered"?). The viewer is presented with so much information and a multitude of concepts, it should be required viewing for all of us who wear clothes. Which is, well, all of us.
Items: Is Fashion Modern runs through January 28 2018