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Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLFS 4008
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
This seminar examines visual culture at the turn of the millennium, with a particular focus on the work at the juncture between experimental fashion and the visual arts. 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 artists as well as designers 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. 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? We look at a range of media from the video and performance work of Leigh Bowery and Georgina Starr, to the experimental fashion shows staged by Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan, to the more recent 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 critical theory, gender studies, art history, performance and science studies in its exploration of the topic.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisite(s): first-year university writing course and at least two prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture. One of these courses should be 3000-level.
Open to Undergraduate students.