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Appropriation, Absorption and Resistance in the Fashion World: Wherein Lies Elegance? WSQ Fashion Issue Launch Graduate Center October 30, 2013 “Elegance.

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Presentation on theme: "Appropriation, Absorption and Resistance in the Fashion World: Wherein Lies Elegance? WSQ Fashion Issue Launch Graduate Center October 30, 2013 “Elegance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Appropriation, Absorption and Resistance in the Fashion World: Wherein Lies Elegance? WSQ Fashion Issue Launch Graduate Center October 30, 2013 “Elegance is Refusal” Veronica Manlow Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

2 Sequence Discussion of three artists, Richard Prince, Tom Sachs and Alex Gross who resisted dominant notions of elegance. Two succumb to its allure Luxury salesperson defines elegance in his terms, rejecting corporate communication intended for his clientele

3 Richard Prince, Untitled 1983 Richard Prince in detaching objects in the form of printed images in women’s magazines, from the context for which they had been assembled, challenges conventional interpretations through the assignment of a new critical articulation and signification. The woman looking into the makeup compact is a sign that stands for something else: beauty, elegance, fashion. Prince disrupts the binary code through appropriation of the image, bringing about a recoding on the part of the viewer who is now asked to reinterpret the image in a new context outside the prescribed system of signs.

4 Tom Sachs, Prada Toilet 1997 Prince in appropriating jokes in textual form or images of nurses from popular novels, or Tom Sachs in creating a Prada logoed toilet made from brand’s own packaging are performing transgressive acts in that systems of signification taken as real by brands are contested by viewers once a discourse is positioned in a new arena.

5 Prince and Sachs have joined the very ranks they criticized, their credibility bought and their refusal neutralized.

6 FONDAZIONE PRADA Tom Sachs Published by Fondazione Prada Edited and with essay by Germano Celant. Preface by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli This comprehensive survey of the work of the young and influential American sculptor Tom Sachs is the first of its kind, and long overdue. Sachs appropriates elements from American popular culture, including fast food, skateboarding and hip- hop music, and mixes them with overt references to luxury fashion labels, as well as icons of Modernist art and design. Even as Sachs's work maintains an overt antagonism toward consumerism and globalization, it reveals an inherent idealism, championing transparency of production and homespun craftsmanship. Produced on the occasion of the artist's solo exhibition at the Fondazione Prada, Milan, this book illustrates the prolific and innovative nature of Sachs's career, highlighting his fascination with weapons, conformity, cultural imperialism and craft

7 Prince once the appropriation artist, has been himself appropriated. A quote from an executive referring to his collaboration with Louis Vuitton... "Richard Prince is a dynamic part of the company's fabric."

8 Henri Lefebvre's notion of 'right to the city' can be thought of in relation to fashion ’ s infiltration of all sectors of society. Luxury brands have begun to claim the representational space of art, as well as social/experiential space in both the virtual and material world, converting more spaces—museums, town centers--into exchange spaces. Flagship stores have become global tourist destinations, art foundations and sites of 'education.'

9 Alex Gross, Product Placement exhibition, 2012 Alex Gross, a pop surrealist painter repositions luxury and popular brands in a global context, problematizing them. Disturbing elements call into question issues of production, exploitation and the saturation of everyday life vis-à-vis advertisements.

10 Says Gross of his 2012 Product Placement exhibition: “The world that I live in is both spiritually profound and culturally vapid. It is extremely violent but can also be extremely beautiful. Globalization and technology are responsible for wonderfully positive changes in the world as well as terrible tragedy and homogeneity. This dichotomy fascinates me, and naturally influences much of my work.”

11 From a research project with David Loranger of Bergdorf Goodman on sales associates working for a variety of luxury brands at their flagship stores The last image represents a luxury salesperson’s refusal to accept the corporate vision in the form of their polished and expertly constructed images of the brand he sells to his clientele. Instead, he puts together what he calls a “collage” that reflects the way his customers experience the brand. The outreach is a success and now the brand has appropriated this strategy in its own marketing materials.


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