Exhibiting fashion: fashion, local communities and museum narratives

Catalani, Anna (2014) Exhibiting fashion: fashion, local communities and museum narratives. In: Collecting and Display: New directions in museology, 11-12 October 2014, MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

During the past forty years, museums and galleries have increasingly become platforms for fashion displays. Actually, exhibitions dealing with contemporary fashion creations - rather than with the traditional, chronological displays of clothing or fashion accessorizes- seem to have become popular museum events. These events are particularly appealing to wider and younger audiences, as well as being worth of the media attention. Fashion exhibitions, indeed, have at their core the ‘art-fashion’ binomial and are often built on spectacular collections and scenographies: like on the catwalks, fashion in museums should be eye-catching and should attract the interest of the media. However, while exhibitions on fashion may help museums to increase their audience’s number and demography, they also seem to be overshadowing the primary museum and galleries concern, that is to say museums and galleries as public fora for inclusive, critical, social debates.
Throughout this paper, I intend to consider how museums/galleries (dealing with fashion) can make their collections and exhibitions more relevant to local communities. Specifically, I will be looking at two case studies (The Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, in Northampton and The Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall in Manchester) and at their different curatorial and interpretative approaches, which aim at (or should aim at) reaching local and non-specialised audiences. With this paper, I intend, therefore, to contribute to the growing debate on fashion and fashion curatorship, by arguing that museums and galleries can use their fashion- based collections and exhibitions to present fashion as being part of a larger cultural and local narrative.

Keywords:Fashion curatorship, material culture, museums
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W213 Visual Communication
L Social studies > L990 Social studies not elsewhere classified
W Creative Arts and Design > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:15449
Deposited On:14 Oct 2014 16:11

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