Meaningfully Dressed: Controlling the Art Narrative through Style

February 10, 2021
6 pm (CST)

Member program

Members are invited to join Yvonne Osei (MFA ’16), to critically consider the use of clothing in artworks and how that clothing can translate into artistic meaning. Osei and participants will analyze various artworks in the Museum’s collection, investigating, for example, how sartorial choices can emphasize personhood, as in Ann Hamilton’s
O N E E V E R Y O N E · St. Louis; how clothing can echo a historical time, as in Kara Walker’s The Bush, Skinny, and De-boning; how clothing, or the defiant lack thereof, can elicit sociopolitical awakening, as in the video Touch Cinema by Valie Export; and how it can set a mood and signify much about the sitter, as in Thomas Dewing’s painting Brocart de Venise. Osei will also use her own artistic practice, Ghanaian culture, and interests in textiles and fashion practice to tease out the importance of paying particular attention to the functionality of clothing in artworks.

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About the speaker

Yvonne Osei is a Ghanaian conceptual artist, curator, and art educator living between St. Louis and Philadelphia. Her international creative practice explores beauty, colorism, the authorship of history, and the residual implications of colonialism in postcolonial West Africa and Western cultures. Osei also uses textiles and clothing as artistic mediums to foreground global sociopolitical issues. She earned an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellow, and Danforth Scholar. Osei is currently the membership chair on the Women and the Kemper board at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

Image credit

Ann Hamilton (American, b. 1956), detail of O N E E V E R Y O N E · St. Louis, 2015. Photomechanical prints in porcelain enamel on steel panels, 58 x 45 x 1" (each). University purchase, Art on Campus fund, Thomas and Jennifer Hillman Hall, 2015.