80 Washington Square East, NYU


Curated by David Rimanelli

February 2 – March 12, 2010


DENIM, an exhibition curated by David Rimanelli, NYU Faculty and Artforum contributor, features an eclectic mix of historical and contemporary artists including Knut Åsdam, Tom Burr, VALIE EXPORT, K8 Hardy, Hanna Liden and Klara Liden, Jack Pierson, Rob Pruitt, Michael Smith, Andy Warhol, and Karlheinz Weinberger.
The artists in DENIM explore the multifarious connotations of a material that began its life as a fabric for work clothes, but has become, over the past few decades, a material for fashion, both instant and high-end couture. For Rimanelli, however DENIM does not refer only to fashion but functions as psychic material, sheathing ideas that range from the erotic to the implicitly revolutionary.
Denim’s cult status as a rebel uniform emerged in the public mind largely through classic Hollywood cinema—fir instance, Marlon Brando in The Wild One, James Dean in Rebel without a Cause, and Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits, and later as the preferred style for certain subcultures, for example gay subculture, as can be seen in Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising and Kustom Kar Kommandos; or, returning to Hollywood, William Friedkin’s controversial Cruising.
DENIM, these cinematic references commingle with denim’s "high-art" associations, which have become ingrained through the '60s image of the "artist-worker," exemplified by minimalists like Robert Morris, or by Carl Andre, habitually attired in overalls. Andy Warhol is a key figure in this respect, both in his own sartorial inclinations but particularly in his art and films.