Art as fashion

Mrs Pankhurst by Mary Richardson: the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez slashed by Mary Richardson, 1914. Source: The National Gallery, London (Gell, 1998)

My input:

Art as a mode of production of (symbolic or not) images, objects and performances is, at its core, an agency strategy. “I view art as a system of action, intended to change the world rather than encode symbolic propositions about it”, wrote Alfre Gell in its seminal anthropological book, Art and Agency (1998). This definition stands for art as a mode of religion, power, and fashion — fashion being, in this case, a godless cult. Art as a form of agency is probably the core of any art thing since the dawn of human societies more than forty thousand years ago. Humans began developing collective conscience of life and death mediated by articulated voices, rare and odd objects, and graphs like inscriptions, loose drawings, geometric forms and pictures. There have been, so far, no human societies without art. Religion, laws and science were born through art, from the most elementary artefacts to more elaborated modes of inscription and representation.

As such, Modernism is one of those many fashions and production lines we can now observe with a critical detachment in museums and other archives, among Greek, Roman, medieval, renaissance, and all the subsequent manneristic, baroque and expressionist trends of typical European art since the discovery of Laocoon and His Sons. This late Hellenistic sculpture (or a Roman copy of a disappeared Greek statue from 40-30 B.C.E.) had a long string of modern European heirs, like Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Bronzino, Cellini, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Bernini, Borromini, Rubens, El Greco, and so on.

Not only style but also content and ideology are subjects of fashion. Fashion is an industry that allows copy and the propagation of novelty as a mode of social, sometimes invisible, consensus. Iteration and generative repetition are the primary modes for socially embedding what the Germans call the “zeitgeist”.

Since the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York as a result of the infamous 9/11 terrorist (or false flag) attack, a traumatic sign of the American Empire’s decline, underground intellectual lines of critical thought emerged and converged, being, for now, the main ideological drive of most innovative and successful art trends. Under the encapsulated catch-name of ‘political correctness’, or of the more recently radical caption, ‘the great awakening’ (simplified by the noun ‘woke’), one can easily understand that post-contemporary cultural hype implies one form or another of feminism and or post-feminism, identity militancy, gender agonistics and pronoun’s attrition (language war), critical racial theory, post-colonial revisions of historical patriarchal and white supremacist narratives, anti-extractivism, mainly under the mass extinction, climate change, activism. These multiple fractures occur irrespective of illiberal anti-globalisation trends in world politics. It looks like a new “zeitgeist” at large to me. And another thing: AIs have already joined this bandwagon!

Laocoön and his sons, also known as the Laocoön Group. Marble, copy after a Hellenistic original from ca. 200 BC. Found in the Baths of Trajan, 1506. Wikipedia

YOU‘s interactive feedback— generative iterations

On the first paragraph


The role of fashion in art as a form of agency is twofold. On the one hand, it serves to display and express individual identity through symbols and objects that are consumed by individuals or groups, representing their social values. On the other hand, fashion can be used to create collective identities — such as those found in punk subculture — where aesthetics become an important tool for political expression and mobilization. In this sense, art has been used both for self-expression (as with punk) and for wider societal transformation (as with Surrealism). Art is thus not only about aesthetic production but also about creating new ways of perceiving reality and making meaning out of our lives.

In conclusion, art as a mode of production has always had strong ties with fashion since they both serve similar purposes: conveying messages through images/objects/performances; expressing individual identity; creating collective identities; mobilizing people towards specific causes or movements; etc. Fashion, therefore, plays an important role within artistic practices because it allows us to explore different aspects related to our cultural heritage while at the same time being able to have fun doing so!


The role of art in fashion is a complex one. It can be seen as an expression of individual and collective identities, or it can be used to make political statements about the world we live in. For example, during the punk movement, people used clothing and accessories to express their anti-establishment views. More recently, artists have been using fashion as a tool for social commentary on issues such as gender roles and racial inequality. Art has also been used by designers to create unique pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and meaningful at the same time — think streetwear designer Virgil Abloh’s “Off-White” line which features bold prints with powerful messages like “I am not my clothes” written across them.

Ultimately though, art is often seen simply as an aesthetic choice when it comes to fashion — something that looks good but doesn’t necessarily carry any deeper meaning beyond its visual appeal alone (although this isn’t always true). This use of art serves mainly decorative purposes; it’s meant purely for pleasure rather than making any kind of statement or having any other purpose besides looking nice on someone’s body! Whether you’re wearing something because you love how it looks or because you want your outfit to say something specific about who you are however; there’s no denying that art plays a major part in our sartorial choices today – from high end couture designs all the way down to everyday street style staples!


In the contemporary world, fashion has become an important part of our everyday life. It is no longer just a matter of aesthetics but also a way to express ourselves and show who we are. It can be seen as an extension of art that allows us to communicate with others through clothing and accessories; it gives us the opportunity to create something unique and individualized. Fashion does not only influence how people dress but also how they think about themselves, their environment, society in general or even politics. Art has long been associated with fashion due to its ability to capture trends before anyone else does so – designers often look at artistic movements for inspiration when creating new collections which then become popular among consumers all over the world.


Ryan Wilde
The Hapless Homemaker, 2023
Felt, synthetic hair, resin, brass, crystal, wood, cotton
63,5 × 40.6 × 40,6 cm
Galerie Julien Cadet, Paris

On the last paragraph

WARNING: Text may contain sensitive content

The concept of ‘political correctness’ has become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more people strive to be respectful and inclusive. This is often referred to as the ‘great awakening’ or simply being “woke”, which implies an understanding of feminism and post-feminism, identity activism, gender agonistics and pronoun attrition (language wars), critical racial theory, and post-colonial revisions of historical patriarchal narratives. It also encompasses a wide range of topics related to mass extinction due to climate change activism.

This shift in cultural values can be seen across the world regardless if there are illiberal anti-globalisation trends present in politics or not. It appears that we have entered into a new age where these ideas are becoming mainstream; even Artificial Intelligence systems have begun joining this bandwagon! The idea behind political correctness is that everyone should feel respected no matter their race or gender identity – something which many people believe will lead us towards greater social justice for all individuals around the world.

Ultimately it seems clear that this current trend towards political correctness will continue going forward – particularly given how much attention it has received recently from both everyday citizens as well as AI systems alike! We must remember, though, that while its intentions may be good at heart, we must remain aware not to fall into any sort of ideological extremism when discussing such important issues as racism and sexism so we don’t lose sight of what truly matters: equality for all human beings regardless their background!

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