“Beauty Is Where You Find It” – Madonna
“Dressing yourself for yourself is an activist act” – Fayette Hauser
Dress up parties, masquerade balls, nightclubs, fashion shows, and parades have offered artists the opportunity to go against the grain of dominant culture. As outsiders, radicals, and nonconformists, artists used their marginal status to subvert expectations, challenge authority, and thwart convention. This course will examine the ways costume has been deployed to interrogate received notions of gender, race, status, and sex since 1960. Topics to be considered include: beauty, drag, glamour, androgyny, illusion, and artifice. Artists include Jack Smith, Kaisik Wong, Eleanor Antin, Linda Montano, David Bowie, Grace Jones, Leigh Bowery, Vaginal Davis, Les Blank and Jennie Livingston. While this is a studio course, there will be weekly reading assignments and discussion as well as critiques. Students may work in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, video, or costume design. A high degree of motivation is expected.
Corequisite: Enrollment in the Visual Arts Lecture Series (VA2999.01)