The human body has always been a primary subject and/or site of art making, and thus, by natural extension, has the skin that encapsulates it. As a result, the textures, technologies, objects that we embellish or enhance our skin with, that adapt us into our environments, as much reflect our own tastes and desires, as they do the society and time we live in.
Our interest in curating the show WeAr(e) [Wear We Are], showcasing wearables in the contemporary art practice, is two-fold. On the one hand, it is linked to Lev Manovich’s defense of fashion and its relevance in today’s rapidly changing world, “It is the beginning of the new century… We want to imagine ourselves anew. If visual art, hopelessly stuck in recycling its recent history over and over, can no longer help us, where can we turn? Enter fashion. Fashion is everything contemporary art is not: it is concerned with beauty; it is more semiotically layered than the most complex Photoshop composite you ever worked on; and it has one ever present constraint…–the human figure. ” On the other, it is with the intention of situating the contemporary wearable within the canonized history of art, directly linking this practice to its predecessors in the performance and time-based works of the 60s and 70s. In this manner, we acknowledge the act of wearing as well as the wearable objects which are worn, as powerful gestures that merge the body, society, politics, technology and material, and communicate messages that are crucial in the contemporary climate, delivered in a manner that is accessible to a larger audience, beyond the white walls of the gallery.
Contemporary artists participating with their wearables in the live component of the exhibition include: Jeff Aaron Bryant /Blaze Ferrer /Ásta Bennie Hostetter, Noumeda Carbone, Emma Dorothy Conley, Michelle Cortese, ntilit with Krishna Christine Washburn, Gautam Kansara, Bryan Pettigrew, Normandy Sherwood, Max Steiner and Tattfoo Tan.
Curators: Burcin Ayebe, Andrea Bass, Lori Brungard, Priyanka Woojin Lee, Jean Carla Rodea, Jenny Seastone, Erik Sanner, Emma Yi