‘Items: Is Fashion Modern?’
“The concept of ‘modern’ in ‘Items: Is Fashion Modern?’ means something different than it did in 1944 at the height of modernist art and style,” Hilary Reid writes on the NYR Daily about MoMA’s ambitious new survey of 20th and 21st-century clothing. “In ‘Items,’ it refers less to a period of time than to a way of relating to time itself—of dealing with and mingling the past, present, and future. The show features items that have been invented anew, used for present needs, or re-appropriated self-consciously to signal one’s identity, for political purposes, for nostalgic reasons, or simply as irony. These items are displayed in an almost clinical manner, like specimens to be considered. The catalog works similarly, presenting the items in alphabetical order as if they were entries in a dictionary of fashion, each defined by its historical context and illustrated with sample images. Together, the exhibition and catalog present what could be considered a fashion ‘canon’ for contemporary life.”
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