[Visual Art Review] Museum of Wisconsin Art’s ‘A State of Fashion’

[Visual Art Review] Museum of Wisconsin Art’s ‘A State of Fashion’


We’re here at the Museum of Wisconsin
Art chatting with the director, Laurie Winters about the current exhibition:
Wisconsin, ‘A State of Fashion’ [KAT] Laurie, how did the idea for doing four exhibitions
that are about fashion and different types happens? [LAURIE] Well, it all started with one. The Florence Eiseman exhibition which is children’s clothing from
that company. It was started in 1945. We’re doing the first major retrospective. You
know, that alone could have been a standalone exhibition for any museum and
you know it was just something we felt that you know this summer was going to
be all about fashion. As we think about what our museum is and what
it is going to be in the future, we really wanted fashion to be something
that we deal with on a regular basis so we decided to add another exhibition to
the Florence Eiseman already on the schedule and so we added the Roddis Collection which is historic
clothing found in an attic in Marshfield, Wisconsin from over 100 years of
great historic clothing. Once we added that, Miranda Levy, our curator
and director of education proposed doing something very contemporary as a
kind of counterpoint. So we added Contemporary Threads. We’re standing in
the midst of this exhibition and its 24, 25
contemporary outfits made by great designers like Miranda, Linda
Marcus and we’re standing next to a coat made by Alex Ulichny so it’s great
contemporary fashion made right here in Wisconsin. And then our fourth exhibition
came onto the schedule very late but we knew we had to do it. Miranda, just by
chance, met a guy named Daniel Arnold who is a photographer in New York City. He’s
originally from Wisconsin, from Milwaukee. He’s homegrown and he does this kind of
gritty street fashion photography. He works for the New York Times and Vogue
magazine he’s just broken out and become kind of a superstar in fashion
photography. So we’re actually doing his very first museum exhibition. So, it
started with children’s clothing, expanded to contemporary fashion and
you know vintage clothing as well and then photography. So it’s the whole sweep
of fashion in the state of Wisconsin. [KAT] That is amazing and one of the
really powerful things about that too is that this brings it back to the idea of
Wisconsin artists and designers and that this is something that people do here as
well as some of the major fashion cities that you might think of. In terms of
fashion and design, some of the materials just are amazing. Like the Roddis
connection, a 100 years of clothing and when you were examining
that did you see, was there anything that stood out about how like textiles
changed or fabric design or the construction of clothing over that time? [LAURIE] Oh yeah, absolutely. The earliest garment in this whole summer state of fashion is from
1878 and it was made in Paris. It was part of the Roddis Collection and it’s
just exquisite fabric I mean it shimmers. it’s like no velvet you can buy in
the market today. So just to see that and the quality of the material and the lace
that’s connected with it it’s just amazing and then like totally the other end of
the spectrum is this coat which is made with plastic hot pink zip ties. Literally thousands of zip ties and the coat is enormously heavy and it
was recently sent to Los Angeles to be worn at the Music Awards and so that was
kind of exciting. I know it was certainly exciting for Alex but you’ve got this whole spectrum from just the materials, the way things where very
tightly constructed with bone corsets and now today they are very loose and
open and can be made with faux fur or zip ties. [KAT] The idea about fashion changing in terms of materials and design, do you think that people are also
changing their ideas about fashion consciousness right now like say Daniel Arnold’s
photographs for example the people are more aware of being
photographed or their image. Does that come into play as well with his photography? [LAURIE] Yeah, I
think much more so today, people are aware that what they choose to put on,
what they choose to wear and say a lot about them. Whether that’s
just due to trends in history of fashion or studies in
psychology and human behavior, I don’t know but people really think more
about it and they think more about the image, that kind of self branding that
they want to do. [KAT] Well, it’s an exciting summer here at the Museum of Wisconsin Art so stop down, check it out. Wisconsin, ‘A State of Fashion.’ Laurie,
thank you so much for telling us about these shows. [LAURIE] It was a great pleasure to have you here! [KAT] Our pleasure! Join us again for Visual Arts on Shepherd Express

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