UNHOLY ALLIANCE: ART + FASHION MEET AGAIN at MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen West), to November 12. 416-395-0067. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Merging high fashion and art, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art has put together a smart and whimsical exhibition appropriately entitled Unholy Alliance.
Each brow-raising and quizzical creation in this show is beautifully manufactured. Artists include Nick Cave, Lydia K, Clemencia Labin, Kent Monkman, Matthew Vescovo and Viktor & Rolf.
I couldn't get to MOCCA fast enough to see fashion-based art by Nick Cave, the dark, brooding singer who fronted seminal band the Birthday Party. Turns out it isn't that Nick Cave, but the artist's luscious Soundsuits quickly dispelled my disappointment.
Made of found beads and mixed media on fabric, these are not simply outfits but, rather, wearable sculptures.
One of his Soundsuits takes the pope's hat to new heights. Beginning as a dress and reaching from the floor to far above our heads, it's as elegant as it is preposterous.
Lydia K's sensual and stunning clothes marry the bygone era of capes and hoop skirts with slutty pasties of hand-sewn felt. Monkman layers sequins and feathers with bobbles for First Nations-inspired couture that is both theatrical and politically relevant.
Vescovo's book work The Life And Death Of Bling Bling recounts the history or urban myth of how the now irritating word "bling" became part of our common vernacular. His reflections on consumerism and the co-opting of culture are knee-slappingly funny.
This is a fantastically campy show that assumes its audience's intelligence.