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NYT: Missoni + The Museum Of Everything (It Loves The South)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday's NYT Style Section featured an article entitled Outsider Art Finds Its Place in Fashion.

(click on any of my pics in this post to go directly to my Flickr page for it)
Dr. Charles Smith's Home, Hammond LA

Joe Minter's African Village In America, Birmingham Al

Wade Wharton's Endangered Art Environment, Huntsville AL

Kenny Hill's Sculpture Garden, Chauvin Louisiana

Turns out, the Missoni family toured the Museum of Everything in London, a compilation of Peter Blake's findings from all over the world, and its inspired their latest collection.

If Peter Blake's name sounds familiar, he's the artist who, among countless other things, created the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover.

Here are pieces from the article:

“I said ‘no’ to every other fashion brand, as well as magazines,” Mr. Brett said. “I was afraid they would turn the museum into a film set and the art into a bunch of props. But this was different, with every member of the family modeling, from 19 to 80. It all made sense and has been more like an artistic collaboration than a traditional campaign.”

The Museum of Everything’s exhibition of artifacts from historic fun fairs, old amusement arcades and folk art using taxidermy to create surreal scenes of human domestic life is the backdrop of Missoni’s latest fashion campaign — with their extended family and friends modeling the spring collection from the Italian house.

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For all the energy of photographer Juergen Teller’s images, it is the face off between the family and the weird and wondrous art that creates the artistic tension. There are fairground games, line ups of meticulously painted (if now politically incorrect) Punch and Judy puppets, model railways or seaside boxes smothered in shells. Then there is the fascinating, but creepy, woodland dioramas from the Victorian Walter Potter, who used stuffed squirrels, mice and birds playing cards or cricket or holding tea parties, in scenes created in glass cases.

“It’s amazing isn’t it? When you see something separately it becomes extraordinary,” is one of Peter Blake’s comments written beside the objects.

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Outsider art was the starting point for Mr. Brett’s collection of work, which he describes at being “made by mediums and mystics or people with disabilities” and from environments “in the middle of nowhere.”

“I’d been looking at lots of Southern folk art from the United States — odds and ends found in nooks and crannies across the deep south — strange and brilliant, immediate and unpretentious,” Mr. Brett said.

“The best work seemed to be made by farmers and preachers and laborers — blue-collar folk,” he adds. “I guess what attracted me was the purity and directness. There was a connection to other homespun American art forms like jazz — not quite naïve, but vernacular — made by people without formal training and made for its own sake rather than for sale or career.”

*Love* that last part.  Love-love.

Not sure I see exactly how "Outsider Art Finds Its Place In Fashion" as the NYT put it, meaning when I look at the Missoni collection how it relates back to the inspiration, but it's fantastic that the museum and this genre (and Peter Blake's mention of Southern vernacular art) are getting recognition this way.  Yes.

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