Museum of Modern Art curators have created a 7-week online course on fashion and design in conjunction with this fall’s exhibit at the museum Items: Is Fashion Modern? It seems like a great opportunity to consider clothing, design, and culture with course materials including readings and videos that aren’t otherwise broadly available, at least not neatly arranged in one place with discussion prompts and assignments.
The course is being offered as a companion to MoMA’s new exhibit, which features specific items that were particularly influential on 20th and 21st century clothing. The exhibit and course are broad and not specifically men’s-clothing-focused, although there appear to be a lot of relevant pieces and themes involved, including Dapper Dan designs and Ralph Lauren polo shirts, and weekly course themes like heroes, silhouettes, and expression.
I’ve always gotten a lot out of museum exhibits on fashion, whether they focus on 200-year old artifacts or recent couture. I may or may not make it up to New York for the MoMA exhibit but I’m stoked to set aside some time for deep thoughts on what we wear and why we wear it. From the curator of MoMA’s only other fashion-focused exhibition, in 1944:
It is strange that dress has been generally denied the status of art, when it is actually
a most happy summation of aesthetic, philosophic and psychological components… .
[Its] intimate relation to the very source and standard of all aesthetic evaluations,
the human body, should make it the supreme achievement among the arts.
You can visit Coursera to register. Coursera offers a $49 certificate option or a free “audit” style option (I’m registered, and chose the free option). Registration appears to run through October 7. The course is organized into 7 weeks’ worth of content and assignments, although all content seems to be available as soon as you register (for those of you who are overachievers). Each week includes assignments with deadlines.