Experimental Fashion and Performance

Parsons School of Design: Art/Design Hist & Theory

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Degree Students
Experimental Fashion
Spring 2023
Taught By: Francesca Granata
Section: A

CRN: 5383

Credits: 3

This graduate seminar examines visual and material culture at the turn of the millennium, with a particular focus on the work at the juncture between experimental fashion and performance art. It explores the ever-increasing challenge posed by practioners from the art and fashion fields to the “classical” concept of the body and of beauty, which found one of its most successful articulations in the images surrounding twentieth century high fashion. Examining the way designers and artists problematize easy demarcations between the inside and outside of the body, the course questions why this period saw an explosion of grotesque imagery—an imagery articulating unsettling ruptures of borders—which had been lurking just beneath the surface throughout the twentieth century. Among the questions we will ask are: Why is the sealed and “perfect” body, which developed in the Western vocabulary as early as the Renaissance, so forcefully challenged by contemporary designers and artists? How can we read this proliferation of the grotesque in relation to changes in gender roles, normative sexuality and the AIDS crisis? How do theories of the posthuman influence contemporary fashion and performance? We look at a range of media including the video and performance work of Leigh Bowery in collaboration with Charles Atlas and Michael Clark, the dance performances by Merce Cunningham in collaboration with Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons; the experimental fashion shows staged by Alexander McQueen. Hussein Chalayan, Martin Margiela and Hood by Air, and the pop phenomenon of Lady Gaga. We also examine textiles' relation to the body as a second skin, a surface on which bodily borders are negotiated. The seminar will combine theories and methodologies from fashion theory, feminist and queer theory, art history, performance studies, disability studies, science studies and medical anthropology in its exploration of the topic. Among the authors read will be Judith Butler, Julia Kristeva, Donna Haraway, Paul B. Preciado, Monica Miller, Lynda Nead, Emily Martin, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Caroline Evans.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory (PGHT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 4:12am EDT 6/4/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday
Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm
Building: Parsons 2 W 13th
Room: 603
Date Range: 1/23/2023 - 5/15/2023