The exhibition "Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, Sandra Backlund" conceived by Zoë Ryan, curator for the Department of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, explores different practices and representations of identities via clothing. The presentation of fashion (whether haute couture or "ready-to-wear" clothing) in the ivory towers of the art establishment poses a special challenge as it introduces a contradiction in terms: emblematic of the apparatuses of constant change, fashion is akin to a sociological capsule of the present moment, whereas the museum represents a slow, compressed time which pinpoints the present along a historical continuum, providing a seal of approval and canonizing by means of its retrospective view. Can such a presentation preserve the vibrating, vibrant quality of fashion as a cultural form, without transforming it into a ghost? How can fashion's performative quality be sustained inside the museum?
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