There has never been a doubt that art and fashion go hand in hand, and even if more recently the handholding has become a little bit more than just friends. Many haute couture designers are also painters (though some may critique as ‘hobbyists’), and most come from art school backgrounds, however fashion-focused. So it should come as no surprise that haute couture invests in contemporary art through sponsorship of single exhibitions as well as dedicated contemporary art foundations– in, other words, the logical synthesis where bombastic projects can be realized without the painfully latent bureacracy that many non-profit arts centers have or the long waitlist of gallery programming.
I can’t help but get giddy (and yes, I really mean giddy) when I hear that fashion and contemporary art are about to collide again. I think it clicked in my head when in 1999 with Tom Ford sponsored the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and then I ran across a random Hugo Boss/Ugo Rondinone display on 5th Avenue and stepped into the Fondazione Prada. It seemed as if the art world game had was changing, and perhaps the natural evolution for the 1980s rock-star artists into 21st century. Maybe it’s all about thedisponibilità,funds at disposable to actualize projects without the aforementioned wait. Maybe it’s because fashion can literally and figuratively afford to have a little bit of fun in art these days. Or maybe its because it is simply another way of seeing.
Though I am not sure if I agree when Elizabeth Povoledo writes “Fine arts and luxury brands have long crossed paths, creating a blend of culture, merchandising and branding”– because I like to think I don’t judge the piece by who sponsored it nor do I confuse art work with branding, both being very valid discussions– I do wonder about the cross-over sometimes [is it crap? is it good? who cares!], but that doesn’t stop me from getting excited that another collaboration has popped up in Rome.
Fabulae Romanae by Lucy & Jorge Orta
March 21- September 23, MAXXI
More: Elizabeth Povoledo “Art and Fashion Rub Elbows” New York Times, April 26, 2012