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"Items: Is Fashion Modern?" Exhibition Coming to MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art is one of the best places in the world to see paintings, sculpture, film – and, soon, fashion. This fall, MoMA will take on the fashion world with their new exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern?, exploring the enduring impact of 111 iconic fashion items.

Items: Is Fashion Modern

Items: Is Fashion Modern?, which opens October 1, will emphasize how fashion touches everyone’s lives by looking at the items that have had the most wide-reaching influence over the past century. To illustrate how fashion’s influence has gone far beyond the catwalk and pages of Vogue, the exhibition will consider how fashion intersects with our lives and the broader culture, exploring the intersection of fashion and athleticism, the workplace and more.

“A powerful form of creative and personal expression that can be approached from multiple angles of study, fashion is unquestionably also a form of design, with its pitch struck in negotiations between form and function, means and goals, automated technologies and craftsmanship, standardization and customization, universality and self-expression,” Senior Curator Paola Antonelli said in a statement. “As design, it exists in the service of others. In most cases, it is designed by a human being to dress others—sometimes many, many others—so that they can function in the world, in different arenas.”

Items: Is Fashion Modern

Among the iconic fashion items that will be on display are the little black dress, baseball cap, sari, Wonderbra, safety pin, miniskirt, manicure, and more. Though 111 items have been chosen for the exhibition, visitors can expect some 350 items on display throughout the museum’s 6th floor, as many items will be represented through multiple pieces.

The exhibition will also give modern-day designers the chance to put their own stamp on these timeless garments. Approximately 30 items in the exhibition will be prototypes made by artists, scientists, engineers and designers that respond to the pieces and help to propel them into the near and distant future, showing how these classic pieces remain ever-relevant in our modern lives.

Items: Is Fashion Modern? will be on view from October 1, 2017, through January 28, 2018. For more information, visit

About the Author

Alison Durkee is a New York-based arts journalist and critic with a background in theatre and dance. She currently serves as the Features Editor of London theatre website Everything Theatre and also covers news and politics for

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