Art and Fashion: A Complex Collaboration
Does art need fashion as much as fashion needs art
Join writer, editor and arts consultant Alison Kubler as she examines the complexity of art and fashion’s interrelationship and its effect on visual culture.
Art and fashion’s twenty-first century dalliance has serious economic and cultural repercussions. The global fashion industry has looked to the art world increasingly as a source of inspiration and content. Importantly too, fashion has emerged in the 21st Century as an economic force in its own right. Fashion is given considerable column space in leading financial journals as well as mainstream media. Fashion and art go hand in hand at the big end of town; art collectors wear luxury labels, and fashion houses acquire major artist’s work. It’s a mutual admiration society with economic benefits.
While contemporaneously art and fashion are economic and cultural bed fellows it wasn’t always so. On the face of it, art and fashion are philosophically opposed. Where fashion is understood to be fickle, transient and constantly in flux, art is understood to be more considered, intellectual, even elitist. Art aspires to a cultural longevity that fashion by its very nature seems designed to negate. The natural condition of fashion is to usurp itself, to change and render redundant what has come before. Fashion too has a commercial imperative whereas art, philosophically, does not, although in the 21st century we understand that art and fashion are economic systems in their own right.
Art benefits from the intense gaze directed at fashion and fashion in turn garners the longevity it craves, In short, art needs fashion, and vice versa.
ALISON KUBLER has a double major in Art History from the University of Queensland, Australia, and a Masters in Post-war and Contemporary Art History from Manchester University, England. Alison Kubler has over 20 years experience working as a curator in museums and galleries in Australia. She worked as Arts Adviser to the Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport, she has held full-time curatorial positions at QUT Art Museum and Gold Coast City Art Gallery, worked as Associate Curator, the University of Queensland Art Museum and in a freelance capacity developed programs for Art Gallery of South Australia amongst other institutions. Alison is a Member of the Council of the National Gallery of Australia, and an Ambassador for the Institute of Modern Art. Alison is a regular contributor to art journals and magazines on the subjects of art and fashion. She is currently the Editor of VAULT. In November 2013 a book she co-authored with Mitchell Oakley-Smith entitled Art and Fashion in the Twentieth Century was published by Thames and Hudson UK, an has subsequently been translated into German and Japanese. She has worked as curator on major public art commissions such as the refurbishment of the Brisbane International Airport and as curatorial advisor to Urban Art Projects on the public art for the major Queens Wharf Brisbane Redevelopment. She has been a regular external assessor for the Australia Council Visual Arts Board, and a sessional academic at QUT in the fashion studies department. Alison also sits on the Advisory Board of the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas (SCCI).
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