DOES THIS FANTASY MAKE MY CLOSET LOOK BIG?

by Flaunt Editorial Staff

Romancing Garbs’ 500 Year-Old Drive and Dilemma with Hardback and Exhibit Fashion Drive: Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts.

 JOHN BALDESSARI. “DOUBLE BILL: ...AND MANET” (2012). LACQUERED INKJET PRINT ON CANVAS WITH ACRYLIC AND OIL PAINT. 152.4 X 152.4 CM. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK.

JOHN BALDESSARI. “DOUBLE BILL: ...AND MANET” (2012). LACQUERED INKJET PRINT ON CANVAS WITH ACRYLIC AND OIL PAINT. 152.4 X 152.4 CM. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK.


A new art book, Fashion Drive: Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts (accompanying an exhibition of the same name opening in April), explores the relationship between art and fashion throughout the ages, presenting 500 years of the shared history of the mediums.

 MAX ERNST. “ABOVE THE CLOUDS IS MIDNIGHT. ABOVE MIDNIGHT HANGS THE INVISIBLE BIRD OF THE DAY. A LITTLE HIGHER THAN THE BIRD THE ETHER GROWS AND THE WALLS AND ROOFS FLOAT” (1920). PHOTOGRAPHIC ENLARGEMENT OF THE EPONYMOUS PHOTOMONTAGE. 53 X 55 CM. COURTESY KUNSTHAUS ZÜRICH AND PROLITTERIS, ZURICH.

MAX ERNST. “ABOVE THE CLOUDS IS MIDNIGHT. ABOVE MIDNIGHT HANGS THE INVISIBLE BIRD OF THE DAY. A LITTLE HIGHER THAN THE BIRD THE ETHER GROWS AND THE WALLS AND ROOFS FLOAT” (1920). PHOTOGRAPHIC ENLARGEMENT OF THE EPONYMOUS PHOTOMONTAGE. 53 X 55 CM. COURTESY KUNSTHAUS ZÜRICH AND PROLITTERIS, ZURICH.


In the 1960s, Yves Saint Laurent paid homage to Piet Mondrian with a series of six now-famous color-blocked cocktail dresses. More recently, Jeff Koons collaborated with Louis Vuitton for an ornate line of luxury handbags. There are more stuffy paintings of aristocrats and royals arranged in ludicrously decadent attire at the Louvre then you could ever care to look at. Each of these cross-pollinations reflect the long relationship fashion and art have shared throughout history, informing and reflecting one another and the culture in which they are created.

When art and fashion collide new perspectives come to light. In John Baldessari’s painting “Double Bill: ...And Manet,” part of his 2012 Double Bill exhibition, the artist pulls inspiration from Manet’s “Jeanne Duval, la Maîtresse de Baudelaire (La Dame à l’éventail),” from 1862. The mistress’s dress and shoes can be seen peeking out from under a passenger ship in Baldessari’s reinterpretation. The precise meaning is left to the imagination, but the juxtaposition of the crinoline (a cage-like skirt shaper) and the large passenger liner, both of which were popular among the upper classes in the 1850s, brings to mind passing trends, obsolete forms, and questions about class and gender.

The exhibit, opening at the Kunsthaus Zürich in April, explores the subject in a larger-than-life manner with displays of paintings, sketches, and sculptures from artists all over the world who have found themselves, like many others, inspired by fashion.


Written by Sarah Smithy