Monday, April 4, 2011

Can Fashion be Art? - Justine's Article

This article, using the Royal Academy's exhibition titled "Aware: Art Fashion Identity", investigates the differences between art and fashion, and whether or not the two could ever be synonymous. A few pieces from the show were named and described like a piece of artwork of any other medium would have been, but it is later revealed that curators found it necessary to explain these pieces as often as possible, as if defending them against the title of 'fashion'. Just like in any exhibitions, some pieces were able to work well on their own while others needed to be defended due to weakness. 

But I saw absolutely nothing off about this show. I think what is bringing up some of the confusion is the idea of clothing as fashion. Not all clothing is fashionable. The clothing we often acquaint ourselves with is practical first and foremost. Second, comes the aspect of fashion and preference. The purpose of fashion and art differ just as easily as art and decor. Whereas fashion is ephemeral, constantly dying and being reborn depending on consumer interest, art has a more immortal quality to it. As said in one of my favorite movies, "You can't kill an idea." Art is all about ideas. It's all about messages and intent and expressing those in one's own unique way. Clothing can be handled with that very purpose, but it would need to lose its commercial ties.

I think I'm already answering the first question. Er...I'll just get to them now before I end up answering them out of turn.

1. Fashion can't become art. Art requires intent. It requires the heart and soul of the artist to take on a life of its own, and it must survive regardless of how many admirers it has or doesn't have. Eh...doesn't sound like me, does it? To be honest, other than intent there's nothing else I can say in defense of that line between them. It's very thin and very blurred. I can't make a jab at mass production, because we all know Andy Warhol covered that with his prints. 

2. I think fashion is being confused with clothing. Fashion is a status--a state. Clothing, in its most basic and practical form, serves to cover up whatever must or ought to be covered. Clothing can be art, but in turn, it must cease to be clothing. It can be worn, if that is part of the piece, but once you stop considering yourself to be a part of the work and you're still wearing it, you've just defeated your own art; you've shot it dead.'s like getting the bubblegum pink I-Pod to match your purse and boots. It's an accessory that you might feel best accentuates who you are and what your tastes are. I don't see such examples under the category of art unless you start bringing up the painting you bought to match your couch and the paint job in your guest room.

3. I guess it could be, if you come up with an idea that you successfully translate into clothing and the design becomes very popular. Then it has the potential to change into fashion. But it can't go back to being art once it undergoes that change.

4. Isn't it? Whenever you go to a store and see it propped up on a mannequin, isn't it sculpture? You can't take it down and wear it right then and there--instead it's supposed to give the viewer an idea of what it might look like on their body, combined with that pair of pants or those cardigans. 

5.  I don't see why. What's feminine about tissue paper? If you're just making dresses, I'd simply assume you like making them as opposed to shirts and jeans. They're often chosen by artists when it comes to making art of clothing because they have the more aesthetically pleasing shape. 

6. They wouldn't be fashion, because the standards of fashion require wearability. They could be art, if that is what you intend. 

7. You should display them in whatever way compliments the idea behind them the most. It's the same thing you think about when you consider other kinds of art that are far more acceptable. Say you have a scroll piece. It might not make any sense to frame it, but it may be stronger just letting it unravel on a table so it could be presented like a more traditional scroll. Putting a dress on a mannequin doesn't immediately make it fashion. It could be; it has the potential. But if that's not what you made it for, then it doesn't have to be.

8. I might not see them as suits unless they share a lot of the same patterns. Suits are far more restricted in design than dresses are. I'd see them differently because I'd be looking for the motifs that suggest it is a suit. 

My art doesn't really deal with fashion, so I'm not sure how I can compare my work to this article. I mean, it is an issue I was often curious about, because there are a lot of fine lines that separate art from other means of expression. In my case, it can be animation vs art. Movies vs videos. What I believe has always set them apart before are ideas. 

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