In 1983, the Richmond Art Center (2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond) put on the landmark exhibition, Poetry for the Body: Clothing for the Spirit, which highlighted fashion as fine art. Now, with Body as Agent: Changing Fashion Art, its current show featuring all California designers, RAC surveys how fashion has evolved as an art form since then. The show places the work many of the artists from the original exhibit alongside more recent designers who are building on their work, and totals more than thirty participating artists. The new additions contribute a shift toward upcycling and innovative uses of unconventional materials that reflect a growing consciousness around environmentalism. They also offer nuanced social and political commentary — often assumed to be reserved for traditional art mediums — through a wearable vocabulary. Overall, the display puts forth an updated vision of ways in which the body can be used as a roaming billboard for artistic expression.
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