Bard Graduate Center’s Artist in Residence (AiR) programs are designed to bring artists into conversation with the exhibitions in the BGC Gallery. The work of these artists animates the BGC Gallery as a living space and draws connections between the exhibitions on view and contemporary art making. Fall 2019 Artists in Residence include Chicago-based designer Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Los Angeles-based artist Maura Brewer, who together form the counter-fashion collective, the Rational Dress Society; New York-based artist, writer, and editor Emily Spivack, and New York-based artist and material culture researcher Ellen Sampson.

Rational Dress Society

In Residence September 20–30, 2019

The Rational Dress Society (RDS) is a counter-fashion collective founded by Chicago-based designer Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Los Angeles-based artist Maura Brewer. During RDS’s residency at BGC, Glaum-Lathbury and Brewer will continue work on “Make America Rational Again” (MARA), a project that builds on the success of RDS’s JUMPSUIT, an open source, ungendered monogarment to replace all clothes in perpetuity. With MARA, they are working with experts in the field of textile recycling to transform a collection of used and discarded Ivanka and Donald Trump brand garments into new material. The reconstituted refuse will ultimately be made into new JUMPSUITs and sold to raise both awareness and funding for garment workers’ organizations.

While in residence, RDS will offer two opportunities for public interaction: a Make-Your-Own-JUMPSUIT workshop for adults on Saturday, September 21, and A History of Counter-Fashion, a runway show at the Theater at MAD (Museum of Arts and Design) that features 10 models, each wearing counter-fashion from the late 1700s to the present day.

Maura Brewer received her MFA from UC Irvine in 2011 and was a 2014-2015 Whitney Independent Study Program fellow. Her videos and performances have been exhibited internationally. She teaches at ArtCenter College of Design.

Abigail Glaum-Lathbury
is assistant professor of fashion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For the past ten years, she has produced ready-to-wear collections under her labels Elmidae and Abigail Glaum-Lathbury. She has participated in many juried markets and showrooms, selling her collections internationally.

JUMPSUIT is disseminated in two forms, as a premade garment and an open source pattern, available to download free of charge. Rooted in the visual language of denim and the history of work-wear, JUMPSUIT imagines the possibility of an egalitarian garment, liberated from the signifiers of class, race and gender that inscribe our usual relation to clothes. JUMPSUIT accommodates 248 different body sizes, using non-gendered terminology. The design draws on histories of revolutionary fashion, from the Sans-culotte movement of the early nineteenth century to the Futurist TuTa of the 1910s. JUMPSUIT accommodates a wide variety of body types while preserving a manufactured sameness among individual wearers, thus drawing upon histories of feminist and utopian garment design. JUMPSUIT is a wearable garment, but it is also a conversation — a collective reimagining of our relationship to dress. To this end, the Rational Dress Society organizes lectures, performances, and make-your-own-JUMPSUIT workshops to facilitate public debate around questions of fashion, identity and consumption.

Emily Spivack

Pop Up Exhibition:
November 12, 2019–December 2, 2019

Emily Spivack’s WHY DID THE JALAPEÑO PUT ON A SWEATER? is a compendium of clothing-related jokes that references the classic joke-a-day desktop calendar. Every day during the exhibition, a new joke will be revealed. For the past year, Spivack has been building an archive of these jokes as an antidote to the seriousness of fashion.

Emily Spivack is an artist, writer, and editor whose work draws from contemporary culture, clothing, history, and our relationship to everyday objects. Spivack is the author of Worn in New York (2017), a contemporary cultural history of New York told through clothing, which is a follow-up to her New York Times best seller, Worn Stories (2014), and (2010), collections of stories about clothing and memory. In her column for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, “The Story of a Thing,” Spivack interviews cultural figures about objects in their homes that provide insight into their interests and quirks. As artist in residence at MoMA (2017–2018), Spivack invited visitors to contribute to “An archive of everything worn to MoMA from November 1, 2017, to January 28, 2018,” a project that is now a permanent part of MoMA’s Archives. Her 2017 off-site installation for the Honolulu Museum of Art, “Medium White Tee,” was a fulfillment of President Obama’s stated fantasy to run a T-shirt shack that sold only medium-sized white tees as a respite from his nonstop decision-making.

Ellen Sampson

Pop Up Exhibition:
Emotional Objects
December 6, 2019–January 5, 2020

Ellen Sampson is an artist and material culture researcher whose work explores the relationships between bodies, memory, and clothing, in museums and archives and in everyday life. She notes that the First World War catalyzed multiple shifts in women’s lived experience: changes in social structure, employment, and dress practices. The spaces women occupied, the roles they played, and the ways they dressed all changed, so that as war ravaged Europe, their tactile and sensory experiences were shifted and reframed. It was equally a period of previously unparalleled loss, of lives and of behaviors, of futures and of traditions; so much so that it is hard to think of the material culture of that period as anything other than the material culture of loss.

During Sampson’s residency and through her pop-up exhibition, Emotional Objects she will explore the material culture of this change and loss through two everyday objects: the handkerchief and the glove. They are emotional objects, artifacts required to convey, stand in for, or embody emotion. These artifacts, mundane, yet overdetermined, are bound up with the etiquette and traditions of courting and mourning, of private and public, of work and of war. They are souvenirs, love tokens, and mementos, deeply entangled with performances of love, labor, and grief. Despite their ritualized and socially proscribed mode of use, gloves and handkerchiefs are also deeply personal and tactile objects, often understood as indivisible from those who used and wore them. They are Bodily objects, objects that stand in for absent bodies.

The pop-up exhibition will be on view on the Fourth Floor of Bard Graduate Center Gallery.

Ellen Sampson holds a PhD from the Royal College of Art. Using film, photography, performance, and writing she interrogates the ways that garments become records of lived experience. She looks closely and makes close-up images to engage with the intricacies of wear, gesture, and trace. In exploring the resonance of worn and used artifacts, she seeks to uncover how attachment to the material world is produced and maintained. She was 2018–19 Polaire Weismann Fellow at The Costume Institute - The Metropolitan Museum of Art working on a projected titled “The Afterlives of Clothes.”