Ruth Scheuing, "13 Men or Penelope II (detail)," 1989 Ruth Scheuing, "13 Men or Penelope II (detail)," 1989

Empty Dress: Clothing as Surrogate in Recent Art

Feb 28, 1994 - Apr 7, 1994

Richard Martin, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present a slide lecture Friday afternoon, March 4. A related film series will follow at 7 p.m. March 9, 23, 30 and April 6 in the Art Building, Room 223.

Empty Dress: Clothing as Surrogate in Recent Art, organized and circulated by Independent Curators Inc. (ICI) of New York, features works by 30 contemporary artists from the United States, Canada and Europe. In this exhibition, guest curator Nina Felshin focuses on the use of clothing abstracted from the body as a means of exploring issues of cultural, psychological and sexual identity.

  • Lesley Dill, "White Hinged Poem Dress, 1992


The artists presented in Empty Dress separate clothes from the human figure to better examine their meaning and to underscore the significance  of the absent body. Because clothing is often gener-specific, many of the works in Empty Dress also address issues of fenger and sexual difference. Others use empty dress as a narratice clue or memento mori to explore clothing as a repository of emotion, dreams, anxiety, desire and ethos.

Among the 40 mixed-media works, photographs and sculptures presented in the exhibition are works by Polly Apfelbaum, Joseph Beuys, Sarah Charlesworth, Maureen Connor, Nancy Davidson, Lesley dill, Suzan Etkin, Steven Evans, Leslie Fry, Robert Goer and Christopher Wool, Gotscho, Kathy Grove, Oliver Herring, Mary Kelly, Barbara Kruger, Annette Messager, Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong, Zizi Raymond, Elaine Reichek, Ruth Scheuing, Stephen Schofield, Beverly Semmes, Judith Shea, Cindy Sherman, Elise Siegel, Claude Simard and Millie Wilson.

An illustrated, full-color catalogue with an essay by Felshin accompanies the exhibition. The catalogue is supported by a grant from the Ida and WIlliam Rosenthal Foundation and the ICI Exhibition Patrons Circle. The exhibition and its tour are made possible in part by grants from the Government of Canada and the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation Inc.

At the UNT Art Gallery, Empty Dress is supported by the UNT Fine Arts Series and the Texas Commission on the Arts.