My journey to the museum was complex but well worth the trip. After making an accidental pitstop at the Rubin Museum of Art, I eventually made it to the 8th floor. I was greeted by a friendly man and quaint, one room, gallery.
My eyes were immediately drawn to a bubblegum pink installation in the corner. As I walked closer, I learned that these were trash bags, inflated with air. Upon further inspection, I noticed two pieces of paper in each bag, each with the word ‘Love’ written on it. Artist Maren Hassinger filled these bags with the breath of love, each bag representing the joining of a couple. This installation creeps up the wall and appears to be fragile, showing the fragility of love.
All the pieces were made up of recycled materials, put together to form a work of art. One of the larger installations contained flattened bottle caps that were attached by wire. The pieces were not flush against the wall, they had a natural shape to them, creating ridges and shadows along the wall. The color of the piece comes from the natural color of the various parts of aluminum, which translates to an array of grey. Anatsui, the artist, calls this an in between color, as it is neutral. This grey area, no pun intended, gives a sense of calm, that allows for the viewer to take in the materials, without distraction.
The final piece that I visited, caught my eye while walking through the museum. I took a closer look and realized that these were silhouettes, formed from leather. The artist, Shin, used recycled/ leftover materials from Marc Jacobs and other designers to create this series. This stuck out to me as I have been hearing a lot about a ‘capsule closet’, which is a minimalist approach to wardrobe, as you only keep around ten items to form several different outfits. The brand that pioneered this idea uses recycled fabric to make its clothes. This method of turning found materials into art, cuts down on waste and repurposes it into something useful.
For my second object, I chose something more utilitarian, something I see everyday on my walk to class. I chose a dark green mailbox, permanently stuck to the sidewalk, weathered from years of residency. This green mailbox is tough, when you touch it, you feel the roughness of the metal, from years of erosion, but you also feel its strength. It is sturdy and shows signs of dependency. It is uniform in color, one that coats the whole, almost as a seal, a sort of armor, used to shield it from the harshness of the outside world. While the smell of this one object was not obvious, it was surrounded, and took in the smells of the city around it. A blend of the people and the polluted air that is almost as permanent as the object itself. While I did not taste the object, I assume it would have the same tinge of metal as would come from biting down on a fork, pungent and off putting. The object itself, however, is not off putting, it is a representation of communication and community.
Once you look beyond the color, the seal, you see the broken down construction that aided in its strength. It has hinges, although covered by paint, and most likely no longer functional, that provide an opening, a way in. It has four solid feet on which it bears its weight. It is made of a sturdy metal, most likely steel, which helps in its permanence. It is constructed of highly calculated curved and straight pieces, that fit perfectly, as puzzle pieces. The preciseness of each piece adds to its appeal as a solid object. The green color blends it into nature. It is industrial in use and organic in aesthetics.
I chose this because it is a mode of transport that connects people who are otherwise, not close in distance. It is a pathway for communication. Even though its construction is industrial, its use is emotional. It is the first step in the offering of a love letter, a message of condolence, or appreciation. It is man made and its use is incredibly human. This idea of construction as a way to appeal to human emotion is incredibly inspirational. In my own work I hope to find ways to allow people to connect to the art itself, or one another.
For my first ‘object’ I chose an article of clothing, not just because it is beautiful as a whole but because it is fascinating when broken down. This is a dress. A dress from Christopher Kane’s Fall 2015 runway collection. When I first saw this garment, to me, it looked like a second skin. Because of the mesh and the fit, it very clearly conforms to the body. What draws my eye the most is the delicacy of the piece. It looks organic and easy, before delving into the construction. The second thing to note is the abstract pattern. At first glance, it appears to be a collage of embroidered blue lines. After continuing to look, you see the collage of bodies that meld together to create a pattern. Overall, this piece is dependent on sight, especially when one is only able to view it from an image, rather than having the experience of seeing the model move in person, therefore one has to fill in the blanks on its construction and intention.
This garment is built up by layers. The first layer appears to be a type if mesh or see through fabric. The material is soft and has a lot of movement. There appears to be a couple layers of this and they connect at the neckline with a thin, scalloped edge seam. The layers are varying in length and the top layer is the longest, falling around mid calf, where you can see the skin. As for the embroidery, it is done with black and dark blue thread that overlaps multiple times throughout the pattern. There is also a thin black belt, tied at the waist, in a bow. The edges of the fabric around the arms, and at the bottom of the dress, appear to not have a seam. Therefore there are rough edges of the natural end of the mesh.
I chose this piece because Christopher Kane has been one of my favorite designers for years. His clothing appears to be natural and is easy to look at. I love the delicacy of it and how it appears to mold to the model, which adds to looking at the image as a whole. It allows me to take in the garment with the model, rather than the clothing alone. What I love about fashion is the personality behind it. Kane is able to connect the people to his garments, making it appear more personal. The construction looks effortless, despite the amount of work that went into it, which is something that I strive for in my own art.
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