The Culture Hustler

Musing for modern minds.

Of Patriotism, Creepy Clowns, and Halloween

Getty Images
Creepy clown masks/Getty Images

 

What to wear this Halloween in a cultural climate fraught with anger, anxiety, fear, and suspicion?

1970s Dress, Part II: Happy Bastille Day

 
1971 Yves Saint Laurent Liberation collection.
       

The Spirit of '76: 1970s Dress, Part I

We’ve just celebrated Independence Day and the Spirit of ’76 has put me in a mind to re-visit a presentation I gave this spring on Seventies dress, the 1970s, that is.

Black Power
Black Power afro pick
 

Collecting Indigenous Mesoamerican Dress

So this is winter in Southern California.  Do I still get to use seasonal hibernation as my excuse for a lengthy writing hiatus?

The truth is, as the first Anawalt Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for the Study of Regional Dress, I’ve been deep in the archives and object collections at UCLA’s Fowler Museum preparing for two projects.  The first is a course I’ll be teaching this spring in UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department, “Collecting Indigenous Mesoamerican Dress.”  The second related project is an exhibition addressing the same theme set to open at the Fowler in 2017. 

Happy Holidays!

Thanks so much for reading throughout the year.

See you in 2016!

Dress and Cultural Appropriation

Earlier this year, French fashion designer Isabel Marant was accused of plagiarism, a frequent occurrence in the fashion industry where designers take their inspiration from museum exhibitions, films, the street, the color of a mud hut, and, in this case, from the indigenous Mixe women of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec in Oaxaca, México.  Yet what makes this story unique is its 21st century flavor.

Appearances Matter Pt. 2: Halloween

Last week I talked about several recent dress-related contentious situations.  From last summer’s Rachel Dolezal moment to this Halloween’s incendiary costume choices on college campuses, there is no end of examples on social media and in the news to show us just how much appearances matter.  While what we wear and how we look matters in all situations where visual communication is part of the equation, the Halloween context is unique from the everyday.  The example of Rachel Dolezal attempting to pass as African American in he

Appearances Matter

On Monday, November 9, 2015, The New York Times ran an op-ed piece by Julia Baird called “Being Dishonest About Ugliness.”  Ms.

Review: To Live and Dine in L.A.

To Live and Dine in L.A. is an exhibition of menus from the Los Angeles Public Library Collection currently on view in the Getty Gallery at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles.  The exhibit’s timing is particularly serendipitous as downtown LA experiences a culinary renaissance.  From the recent re-opening of the legendary Clifton’s Cafeteria to the seemingly weekly emergence of a hip new restaurant, this moment is a sweet spot for exploring the history of Los Angeles’ restaurant culture. 

Cultural Heritage, Art, and the 21st Century Exhibition

LA Times art critic, Christopher Knight, recently descried the increasing nationwide commercialization of museums.  At issue in the examples he cited were real or perceived conflicts of interest.  For example, in February the Princeton University Art Museum hired the curator John Elderfield.  As a Princeton curator, Elderfield continues to be a consultant for the for-profit Gagosian Gallery.  To queries about potential conflicts of interest, in

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