From Yves Klein’s spotless tailoring to the kaleidoscopic costumes of Yayoi Kusama and Cindy Sherman, from Andy Warhol’s denim to Martine Syms’s joy in dressing, the clothes worn by artists are tools of expression, storytelling, resistance, and creativity.
In What Artists Wear, fashion critic and art curator Charlie Porter guides us through the wardrobes of modern artists: in the studio, in performance, at work or at play. For Porter, clothing is a way in: the wild paint-splatters on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s designer clothing, Joseph Beuys’s shamanistic felt hat, or the functional workwear that defined Agnes Martin’s life of spiritua labor. As Porter roams widely from Georgia O’Keeffe’s tailoring to David Hockney’s bold color blocking to Sondra Perry’s intentional casual wear, he weaves his own perceptive analyses with original interviews and contributions from artists and their families and friends.
Part love letter, part guide to chic, with more than 300 images, What Artists Wear offers a new way of understanding art, combined with a dynamic approach to the clothes we all wear. The result is a radical, gleeful inspiration to see each outfit as a canvas on which to convey an identity or challenge the status quo.