Friday, June 21, 2013

Decentralizing the Museum

Art Gallery of Ontario 
As I review my upcoming talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario this afternoon for the Discursive Spaces Conference, I came to the realization that the passions of my life - art, architecture, photography, fashion and the museum - have finally converged. Although it has felt like I have been toiling in obscurity for years, maybe this is exactly what was meant to be....

If you would like to read more about my talk "Decentralizing the Museum", I've posted the extended abstract on Worn Through. Btw, day passes are still available on the AGO website.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Costume Journal: Oh Canada!

Cover of the Costume Journal, Issue 43, Number 1
Art Directed by Marta Kowcun, Photo by Lawrence Cortes, Dress by Some Kong, Model Mikaela M. of Elite Models
Last fall, I agreed to take on the role as editor of the Costume Journal. Although I had more than enough to juggle, it seemed like an opportunity that I could not let pass me by. The Costume Journal is a publication of the Costume Society of Ontario, an organization that was founded in 1971 by Eileen Collard, Alan Suddon, and a passionate cadre interested in dress history. Although the circulation of this publication is relatively small, there are 14 museums and institutions around the world that subscribe to it, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the McCord Museum, and the Ryerson University Library.

After becoming the editor, I read the entire archive of the Journal from its beginnings in 1971, and was surprised to discover that the CSO used to regularly publish original research on dress, including articles by curators at the ROM and other dress historians. This seemed like a golden opportunity to revisit the Journal's roots. As well, there is a void in research on topics relating to Canadian dress and thus the theme of Oh Canada! was born.

In undertaking this redesign, my aim was to make the journal more relevant and modern, finding a niche between an academic journal and a mainstream fashion magazine, and while doing so, still honouring the Costume Journal’s roots. Up-to-date exhibition and event listings are now provided on the CSO website and Facebook page, and also circulated through membership emails.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

VIKTOR & ROLF Dolls at the Royal Ontario Museum

      Dolls are conceptual art objects of strange beauty and desire.
                                                                   (Exhibition Label Viktor&Rolf Dolls at the ROM)

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo I by Ingrid Mida 2013
Ever since I first laid eyes on the Viktor & Rolf dolls in 2008 at the Barbican Gallery in London, their fashionable presence has haunted me. I've studied the exhibition catalogue repeatedly, read and reread Freud's essay on the uncanny, undertaken research on fashion dolls and used them as inspiration for my own creative journeys into the essence of the uncanny as it relates to fashion. For these reasons, I've been counting the days to their arrival in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival.

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo II by Ingrid Mida 2013
On Sunday, June 9, I visited the ROM, expecting line ups out the door.... I was utterly surprised to find the gallery almost devoid of visitors, and the few that wandered in seemed not to know what they were looking at. I overheard several people asking the gallery attendant for information on what was on display.... Quel horreur!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The June Fashion Calendar

I cannot recall another time when there have been so many fashion related events in Toronto, which means that, for once, I don't have to get on a plane to get my fashion fix. Here are a list of upcoming fashion related events in Toronto for June 2013.

June 9 - 30: VIKTOR&ROLF DOLLS at the ROM as part of the Luminato Festival
In this presentation at the Royal Ontario Museum, about 25 hand-crafted porcelain dolls styled to replicate runway looks are dressed in scaled-down versions of Viktor&Rolf couture designs. Initially presented in 2008 at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, England in 2008, these dolls have been set on a specially crafted miniature runway in the ROM's Thorsell Spirit House.  The exhibition is free and open during regular Museum hours. I saw this exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in 2008 and wrote a post at that time and have written about the dolls as part of a creative process journal project. For these reasons, I am really looking forward to having another look at these uncanny incarnations.

June 9: Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker CultureAn Illustrated Talk by Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack at the Bata Shoe Museum 
Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack will discuss the history of the sneaker and the rise of sneaker culture in becoming the footwear of choice for many. My review of the exhibition was published on Modeconnect and my behind-the-scenes visit and interview with Elizabeth Semmelhack is presented on Worn Through.

June 21 at 330 pm: Decentralizing the Museum: The Ryerson Fashion Research Collection 
The Discursive Spaces Conference at the Art Gallery of Ontario (June 20-23) considers the "integration of art, design, and architecture in the creation of memorable and immersive museum experiences, while balancing the public’s expectations of self-directed expression and engagement".  In my joint presentation with architect Guela Solow, we will talk about our shared vision for the remodelling of the space to house the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection. In this conceptual plan,  the barriers of the museum have been disintegrated by integrating the collection within the university environment. Advance tickets are required for this conference and day passes are now available.