Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art

Exhibition Design by Situ Studio

American Folk Art Museum

Situ Studio was chosen to create a display system for the exhibition Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art at the American Folk Art Museum. The show features the work of thirteen fashion designers that were asked to create original couture responding to artworks from the Museum's collection. Responding to the diverse content of the show, Situ developed a series of custom pedestals specifically crafted for each garment or object it holds.

The pedestals, which appear to defy both materiality and gravity, are designed to actively frame and support the rich dialogue between the objects and ensembles on display. Inspired by the draping of a dress form, Situ chose to work with concrete impregnated fabric because, as Partner Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny states, “it provided an opportunity to explore the properties of this unique material in both its fluid and solid states, and it allowed us to work with a flexible system that could be customized to respond to different objects while providing a tactile and visual continuity to the show.”

The process of constructing the pedestals involved building a series of simple armatures from which the concrete canvas was suspended upside-down and saturated with water. Once cured, the result is a series of light-weight, structurally sufficient, modified-catenary forms that appear to float and billow upwards, grounded only by the weight of the objects they support.

Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art was organized by guest curator Alexis CarreƱo and the museum’s Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions, Stacy C. Hollander. Major support for the exhibition is provided by Joyce Berger Cowin, and The Coby Foundation, Ltd. Additional support is from public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Ford Foundation, and the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions. Support for the exhibition catalog has been provided by Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf and Elizabeth V. and Irwin H. Warren. Lectures and symposia are supported in part by an award  from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The following designers created couture fashions for the exhibition: John Bartlett, Michael Bastian, Chadwick Bell, Creatures of the Wind (Christopher Peters and Shane Gabier), Gary Graham, Catherine Malandrino, Bibhu Mohapatra, NotEqual (Fabio Costa), Ronaldus Shamask, threeASFOUR (Gabi Asfour, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil), Koos van den Akker, Yeohlee (Yeohlee Teng) and Jean Yu.

The exhibition will be on view from January 21st - April 23rd 2014.