I believe that conservation knowledge enriches the curatorial voice. My curatorial practice combines materiality, theory, and history to create engaging exhibitions. I have been involved with dozens of fashion and design exhibitions since 2004, working with some of the best curators, designers, artists, and architects practicing today. I know what works, what doesn't, and how to advance the field. Below are the exhibitions that I have found the most rewarding to curate.
The Secret Life of Textiles: Synthetic Materials
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017)
This exhibition is dear to my heart. I love synthetics - and yet, they are so devastating. The goal of this exhibition was to merge the cultural history of synthetics in fashion with the dramatic and desperate reality of contemporary fashion collections. As the lead curator of this exhibition, I knew that technical jargon, while tantalizing for the expert, would not convey the visceral reality of a dead object to our public. Therefore, I had to demonstrate inherent vice - that deadly quality intrinsic to an object that contributes to its own demise - by juxtaposing dead objects with new ones that were made of the very same material. Our audience understood at an instant that it was only a matter of time before inherent vice would strike our collection again. And yet, it wasn't all bad news. Our whimsical plastic objects placed against the happiest of pink Ultrasuede (itself a wondrous synthetic material) gave the exhibition an uplifiting Pop appeal.
Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion
(Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 2009)
I co-curated this 2009 exhibition with Francesca Granata, a brilliant fashion scholar. The first ever exhibition on sustainable fashion in New York City, it was a scrappy show that somehow elicited the zeitgeist. We included artists and designers like Susan Cianciolo, Andrea Zittel, and our favorite, Slow and Steady Wins the Race. The design was created by the students in Pratt's exbhitiion design course run by Jon Otis, and the objects were installed by myself. Would I have installed things a bit differently now? Certainly. But looking back, this exhibition encapsulated a beautiful and hopeful moment within the NYC-based sustainable fashion movement. As luck has it, you can check out the catalog here, although without the life size Andrea Zittel Smockshop pattern that was included in the physical copies!
Beauty Design Triennial
(Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2016)
I was the consulting fashion curator for the Cooper-Hewitt's 5th Design Triennial. My selections made it through the juried and final curatorial processes, and included visionary designers like Sandra Backlund, Iris van Herpen, Mary Katrantzou, and Giambattista Valli - designers whose work simultaneously encapsulates yet provokes conceptions of beauty. I was honored to be able to work with curators Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps - two of the most rigorous and creative design curators working today. My time as both a curator and conservator at the Cooper-Hewitt taught me how to exhibit and interpret Design (with a big "d") objects - an approach I find very different from exhibiting fashion.
Where it started! Modern Master: Lucien Lelong: Couturier 1918 - 1948 (MFIT, 2006)
I co-curated my first-ever exhibition with one of my classmates during the last year of graduate school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The exhibition was mounted at the Museum at FIT and included never before exhibited works by the savior of the French haute couture system during WWII, Lucien Lelong. Utilizing a fashion history approach, we were guided through the process by legendary professor Lourdes Font. I have never known a more rigorous professor who pushed me to my best. It was painful, delirious, and exhilarating, sitting many, many weekends over the summer of 2005, workshopping my labels with her.
Thank you, Dr. Font.