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Josiah McElheny, Interactions of the Abstract Body, 2012 © Josiah McElheny, courtesy the artist and White Cube, London
Josiah McElheny, Interactions of the Abstract Body, 2012 © Josiah McElheny, courtesy the artist and White Cube, London






THE ABSTRACT BODY & FASHION
Some thoughts on the abstract body
Ann Hamilton and Jessica Burstein
Saturday, November 2, 3-5pm

Artist Ann Hamilton has repeatedly reckoned with the most material forms of the body's interaction with its environment. From indigo blue to the event of a thread, she has created installations that bring together sensory landscapes with performance, crafting spaces and outfits for her works’ participants that investigate the line between objects, subjects and bodies. In relationship to Josiah McElheny’s work, which culls from modernist narratives constructed around sartorial fashion, Hamilton and scholar Jessica Burstein will address what it may or may not mean for the body to be abstract when it comes to fashion. While McElheny invokes writers, artists and couturiers—Dior’s New Look, Scheerbart’s “Grey Cloth,” Sonia Delaunay, Oskar Schlemmer—Hamilton turns to equally embodied, but differently arrayed, sources: Anni Albers, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Conversational topics may range from how the human form can be or refuse to be a machine; the role of prosthesis; avant-garde approaches to the sartorial (the Bauhaus, Futurism, Constructivism); and clothing and/as history.

Screening: Oskar Schlemmer's "Triadic Ballet" will follow the conversation. 

Ann Hamilton is an artist based in Columbus, Ohio. A visual artist internationally recognized for her large-scale multi-media installations and immersive experiences, Hamilton’s material and methods of making serve as an invocation of place, of collective voice, of communities past and of labor present. She represented the United States in the 1991 Sao Paulo Bienal and the 1999 Venice Biennale, and her recent museum installations include Park Avenue Armory (2013); The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis (2010); The Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009); and Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan (2006). She has served on the faculty of The Ohio State University since 2001, where she is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Art. Among her many honors, Hamilton has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and United States Artists Fellowship.

Dr. Jessica Burstein is associate professor at the University of Washington in the Department of English. Her area of expertise is British literature from the late 19th century through the 1930s, with a focus on modernism and modernity, the avant-garde, fashion, technophilia and a particular and slightly creepy interest in prosthetics. Her book, Cold Modernism: Literature, Fashion and Art, engages writers and artists including Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Coco Chanel, Balthus, Hans Bellmer, and argues in part for the aesthetic virtues of taking surface appearance seriously. The recipient of fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies and the Franke Center for the Humanities, she has served as acting editor of the academic journal Modern Language Quarterly and is a member of the editorial committee of Modernism/modernity.