It's fashion week all over again at Los Angeles area museums this winter. LACMA offers Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Permanent Collection. MOCA is showing Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture. On December 1, Dress Up Against AIDS: Condom Couture by Adriana Bertini will open at the Fowler.
Much as I enjoy visiting the Fowler (and they do have monthly kid-friendly programs), I doubt I will bring Iris with me to see Condom Couture. We all know how successful I was explaining the Birds and the Bees to Iris. I am not ready to explain condoms to a 6 year old.
I have read criticism that museums should not devote exhibitions to fashion. It is not "high" art. The art present in everyday life is as worthy as any other art. It is commercial. Like art auctions are not commercial transactions? It is pandering; fashion exhibits are very popular with the public. Getting more people into museums is a worthy goal. Why shouldn't a cultural institution show what the people they are supposedly serving are interested in seeing? The only part I find objectionable is when museums allow themselves to be advertising vehicles for the fashion houses.
Iris and I visited Breaking the Mode already; I wrote about it here. LACMA allows photography of their permanent collection as long as a flash is not used and it is not expressly prohibited. The full exhibition title is "Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Permanent Collection". I pulled out my camera to take pictures of clothing details and was told to put the camera away. I tried to argue, but the guard showed me the sign saying that all photography is forbidden in this exhibit. I need to return without Iris and with a sketchbook to make sketches and take notes.
Fortunately, LACMA posted a slideshow of outfits in the exhibition. The pictures don't do justice to the intricate detailing and engineering that really elevate these pieces, though.