This past year has been the year New York’s museums are giving fashion its due; first, it was MoMa’s “Is Fashion Modern?” exhibit, the museum’s first fashion exhibit since 1944, then the Met’s “Heavenly Bodies” show, and now Eckhaus Latta is bringing the Whitney the first fashion exhibit it’s seen in 22 years.
The label, founded by design duo and BFFs Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, could easily be described as gallery-worthy with its gender-fluid, avant-garde sensibility. Now, it actually will be displayed in a museum with the Whitney’s upcoming exhibit “Eckhaus Latta: Possessed” show kicking off August 3 and running through October 8. Eckhaus Latta will also do something relatively unheard of in museums: sell its wares on the Whitney’s first floor.
The unique concept was proposed to Christopher Y. Lew, the Whitney’s associate curator, and Lauri London Freedman, the museum’s head of product development. It will be a three-part installation that will depict all stages of the fashion industry, addressing, as Fader wrote, “the quasi-shadowy parts of design and retail while fully appealing to our inner 21st century voyeuristic sensibilities.”
The show will be in three parts: a sequence of photos that will serve as commentary on fashion advertising, the centerpiece of the installation that will be an operational retail space done in collaboration with friends of the label, and finally, a darkened room modeled after a security office, featuring surveillance images that symbolize the shadowy aspects of shopping.
For the retail section, The Cut reports that artists Susan Cianciolo, Jeffrey Joyal, Lauren Davis Fisher, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, and Amy Yao will be involved. In a statement about the exhibit, Freedman said, “Working with Mike and Zoe has challenged us to consider the roles that our museum spaces play and the objects that are presented. They pushed us to ask broader questions such as ‘How can we reexamine the format of an exhibition?’ and ‘What is the best way to exhibit an artist’s work?’”
Considering how rarely commentary on modern-day retail is addressed in the more traditional corners of the art world, this looks to be a truly unprecedented exhibit.