Exhibition | Beyond Measure: Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 15, 2016


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It’s not an eighteenth-century exhibition per se, though the starting point is Joseph Siffred Duplessis’s Portrait of Madame de Saint-Maurice (mention of which also opens Ruth La Ferla’s review of the exhibition for The New York Times) . . . From the exhibition website:

Beyond Measure: Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman
80WSE, New York University, 13 January — 3 February 2016

Curated by Tracy Jenkins with Dévika Kanadé, Julie Smolinski, Lauren
Wilson, Meg Pierson, Mem Barnett, Shelly Tarter, and Ya’ara Keydar

The Masters of Arts Candidates in New York University’s Visual Culture: Costume Studies Program proudly present their annual exhibition entitled Beyond Measure: Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman , on view at 80WSE, New York University Steinhardt School’s gallery space, from January 13th to February 3rd, 2016. The exhibition explores the shifting discourse surrounding the plus-size woman in relation to fashion and the body. Through a series of objects, the exhibit will examine the plus-size woman’s place within fashion and its defining entity—the fashion industry—from the perspectives of designers, manufacturers, the general public, and the individual women themselves.

Joseph Siffred Duplessis, Madame de Saint-Maurice, 1776 (exhibited in Paris at the Salon of 1776), oil on canvas (NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Joseph Siffred Duplessis, Portrait of Madame de Saint-Maurice, 1776 (exhibited in Paris at the Salon of 1776), oil on canvas (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

As a complicated cultural construct itself, the very term ‘plus-size’ evokes a myriad of reactions, thus, “after careful consideration from the curators of the exhibit, the term ‘plus-size’ is used here for its association with fashion, the primary focus of this exhibition,” said curatorial director of the exhibit, Tracy Jenkins. The fashion industry has played an undeniable role in enabling the stigmatization of larger women’s bodies. Despite consumer needs, plus-size fashion has traditionally been given little sartorial energy. Yet women of all physiques have had to clothe themselves, and thus have stood somewhere in relation to the fashion system. The plus-size woman’s place within the history of the body and her space within the fashion industry is presented here through a diverse set of objects emphasizing her relationship to gender and body politics as well as cultural attitudes toward beauty and health.

These objects, among others, will include an early twentieth-century photograph of A Ticket to Nettie the Fat Girl, representing one of the earliest views of greater weight being equated with greater immorality, and the fetishization of the supposedly deviant body. In a series of advertisements from the mid-twentieth century, women considered undesirably skinny were encouraged to consume dietary supplements to add ‘sex-appealing curves’. Their younger counterparts from the same era who weighed ‘more than average’ were deemed ‘Chubbies’ by pattern companies, presented through the Simplicity Chubbie Pattern in this exhibit. It is not until the 1990s that the plus-size woman in fashion takes center stage when model and muse Stella Ellis took the fashion world into bold new territory as she strode the high fashion runways alongside ‘straight size’ models. Presented in the exhibit is a 1992 photograph of Ellis in bespoke Jean Paul Gaultier, representing her collaboration with the designer, and her photographer, who championed Ellis’s look. Attention will also be paid to the plus-size woman’s relationship with fashion in recent years. These objects will include images of plus-sized models using padding during photo shoots, which has drawn comparisons to the use of Photoshop to create unattainable ideals of beauty. Throughout this presentation of objects and media, ranging from historical to contemporary, this exhibition aims to present the plus-size woman taking her place as a woman of and in fashion.

Thursday, 28 January 2016, 5–9pm
To celebrate the opening of Beyond Measure: Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman, the NYU M.A. Costume Studies Candidates will host a reception and panel discussion. The opening will be held at the gallery space at 80WSE where attendees are encouraged to explore the exhibit as well as meet with the curators. Starting at 7:00, a panel discussion will be held at NYU (location TBD). The event will include a keynote speech by Professor Leah Sweet, Parsons the New School for Design, and followed by a discussion with plus-size model and muse Stella Ellis, Eden Miller, the first plus-size designer to show at New York Fashion Week and Buzzfeed writer Kaye Toal. Please confirm attendance RSVP@beyondmeasurenyu.com.

In conjunction with Beyond Measure: Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman, a mobile web app will be available to explore the exhibition beyond the walls of 80WSE. This will include supplemental multimedia material including videos, images, and discussions with the curators.

Beyond Measure: Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman is organized by curatorial director Tracy Jenkins, a faculty member in NYU’s M.A. Costume Studies Program and by the co-curators: Dévika Kanadé, Julie Smolinski, Lauren Wilson, Meg Pierson, Mem Barnett, Shelly Tarter, and Ya’ara Keydar, Masters of Arts Candidates in New York University’s Visual Culture: Costume Studies Program.

Call for Papers | Hers & Hers: Women as Artists, Clients, and Consumers

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 15, 2016

Hers & Hers: Women as Artists, Clients, and Consumers
California State University, Sacramento, 16 April 2016

Proposals due by 22 February 2016 [revised, extended deadline]

Keynote speaker: Sheryl E. Reiss (President, Italian Art Society), ‘Noble Exemplars of Their Sex’: Tomb Monuments Commissioned for and by Women during the Italian Renaissance

The past three decades have seen an increased amount of scholarship about women who were artists and women who were either sponsors of art projects or purchasers of art objects between about 1500 and 1800. Publications and presentations have resulted in a greater awareness of the significant role played by women in the art market in the 18th century and earlier. For the 12th Annual Art History Symposium at California State University, Sacramento, we welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that provide new information and/or insights about women artists, clients, or consumers in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries.

Please send:
(1) A 300-word proposal
(2) A short biographical statement (one paragraph)
(3) Full contact information

Send all three items as e-mail attachments to ruth.hansen@csus.edu by February 22, 2016. Questions about the symposium may be addressed to Professor Catherine Turrill (turrillc@csus.edu).

Exhibition | Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 15, 2016


Working replicas of John Harrison’s three remarkable timekeepers (H1, H2, H3) are highlights of the Ships, Clocks & Stars exhibition at Mystic Seaport; pictured is a detail of H3. Photo by Andy Price/Mystic Seaport.

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Press release (20 August 2015) for the exhibition, which was earlier on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich:

Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 11 July 2014 — 4 January 2015

Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut, 19 September 2015 — 28 March 2016

Mystic Seaport proudly presents Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude, on tour from England for a limited time only. The award-winning exhibition, produced by the National Maritime Museum in London and sponsored by United Technologies Corp., reveals the race to determine longitude at sea. Spurred on by the promise of rich rewards, astronomers, philosophers, and artisans—including John Harrison and his innovative timekeepers—finally solved one of the greatest technical challenges of the 18th century.

For centuries, longitude (east-west position) was a matter of life and death at sea. Ships that went off course had no way to rediscover their longitude. With no known location, they might smash into underwater obstacles or be forever lost at sea. For a maritime nation such as Britain, growing investment in long distance trade, outposts and settlements overseas made the ability to accurately determine a ship’s longitude increasingly important.

Ships, Clocks & Stars celebrates the 300th anniversary of the British Longitude Act of 1714, which offered a huge prize for any practical way to determine longitude at sea. The longitude problem was so difficult that—despite that incentive—it took five decades to solve it. Through the latest research and extraordinary, historic artifacts—many from the collection of the National Maritime Museum and never before displayed outside the UK—the exhibition tells the story of the clockmakers, astronomers, naval officers, and others who pursued the long ‘quest for longitude’ to ultimate success.

In recent years, John Harrison has been cast as the hero of the story, not least in Dava Sobel’s bestselling book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. Ships, Clocks & Stars provides a new perspective on this famous tale. While John Harrison makes a good story and his marine sea-watch was vital to finally solving the problem of longitude, this was against a backdrop of almost unprecedented collaboration and investment. Famous names such as Galileo, Isaac Newton, James Cook, and William Bligh all feature in this fascinating and complex history. Crucially, it was Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne’s observations and work on the Nautical Almanac at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich that demonstrated the complementary nature of astronomical and timekeeper methods. Combined, the two methods lead to the successful determination of longitude at sea and changed our understanding of the world.

“Mystic Seaport is very proud to bring Ships, Clocks & Stars to New England to tell this important story of scientific discovery, innovation, creativity, perseverance, and even adventure as different parties raced to find a solution,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “This exhibit is more than the story of longitude: it is the story of human problem-solving, and it is as relevant today as it was in the eighteenth century.”