“Style has a profound meaning to Black Americans”  
-Nikki Giovanni

Fashioning The Black Body investigates and explores the ways in which Black artists use fashion, style, and the garment as storytelling devices in their work. Far from the reaches of frivolity–a domain to which fashion is usually relegated–Black people have continually engaged the fashion object beyond its utilitarian functions into a device of “pride, protection, resistance, and camouflage,” as stated by scholar Kimberly Nichele Brown.

As a form of identification, self-actualization, and agency (enhanced or diminished), the selected artists approach the fashion object from various points of its ontogeny: textile, production, construction, utilization, and discardment. In turn, Fashioning the Black Body becomes a dialogue about space; the space between black skin and cloth, the space that exists between the historically commodified and fetishized black body and one’s self-defined identity, and more concretely, the tenuous distances between who we are, who we want to be, and how we are perceived. Through the work of these artists, the fashion object is transubstantiated into a semipermeable membrane between the gaze and the contents it holds.

Dario Calmese is an artist working in photography whose practice includes live performance, video, and text. He received his master’s in photography from School of Visual Arts and his bachelor’s in psychology at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. Classically trained in the performing arts, he uses his knowledge of movement, gesture, and psychology to create characters and narratives that explore history, race, class, and what it means to be human. 

projects+gallery is a commercial art space designed to feature contemporary exhibitions and artists that blur the boundaries of traditionally understood artistic disciplines and practices. In conjunction with Barrett Barrera Projects, a consulting company founded by Susan Barrett in 2014 and specializing in arts, culture and contemporary fashion, projects+gallery features regional, national and international artists working in a variety of mediums.