Exhibitions

The latest press releases and information on current and upcoming exhibitions at MoMA can be found here. You’ll also find exhibition-related videos and posts on Inside/Out, the MoMA/MoMA PS1 blog.

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Items: Is Fashion Modern?

October 01, 2017–January 28, 2018

Posted on April 1, 2016

The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions, sixth floor

The Museum of Modern Art presents Items: Is Fashion Modern?, an investigation of 111 garments and accessories that have had a profound effect on the world over the last century, on view October 1, 2017, through January 28, 2018. Filling the entire sixth floor of the Museum, the exhibition explores fashion thematically, displaying 111 powerful and enduring manifestations of the ways in which fashion—a crucial field of design—touches everyone, everywhere. Like other forms of design, fashion exists within a complex system that involves politics and economics as much as it involves style, technology, and culture. The exhibition examines this complex system using each item as a lens. The 111 typologies are presented in the incarnation that made them significant in the last 100 years (the “stereotype”) alongside contextual materials—images or videos—that trace each item’s history and origins through to its archetypal form. Several concept items (the Little Black Dress, for instance) are represented by more than one example in order to fully underscore the breadth of the concept’s impact, bringing the actual total number of objects in the exhibition to around 350. About 30 items will be complemented by a new prototype—a commissioned or loaned piece inspired by advancements in technology, social dynamics, aesthetics, or political awareness.

The title of the exhibition reprises the question that architect and curator Bernard Rudofsky raised with his 1944 MoMA exhibition Are Clothes Modern?, which is the only other instance of MoMA fully addressing this field of design. In his exhibition, Rudofsky explored individual and collective relationships with mid-century clothing in the waning moments of WWII, when traditional attitudes still prevailed, women still poured their bodies into uncompromising silhouettes, and menswear still demanded superfluous pockets, buttons, cuffs, and collars. For the Items exhibition, Rudofsky’s question provides a springboard (and a foil) from which to consider the ways in which fashion is designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, worn, and disposed of today.

An ongoing research archive reflecting on the exhibition’s broader processes is being published at medium.com/items. The live stream from a two-day gathering of key designers, curators, critics, scholars, activists, and entrepreneurs to address the question “Is fashion modern?”, organized by MoMA in May 2016, can be found at mo.ma/items. It includes over 35 presentations by, among others, legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, model Hari Nef, activist DeRay Mckesson, designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, curator Harold Koda, and athlete Aimee Mullins.

Organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Michelle Millar Fisher, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

The exhibition is made possible by Hyundai Card.
 
Major support is provided by WGSN.
 
Sincere thanks to the members of Friends of Items, a special patron group generously supporting the Museum in celebration of the exhibition.
 
Paint provided by Farrow & Ball.
 
Additional support is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund.
 
MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
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Items: Is Fashion Modern?

October 01, 2017–January 28, 2018

Posted on April 1, 2016

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Items: Is Fashion Modern?