Razzle Dazzle at RISD Museum
Post #888 • October 17, 2006, 8:37 AM • 8 Comments
Providence — Razzle Dazzle at the RISD Museum installs a room of clothing from across Asia meant to impress with twinkling reflections, motion, and noise. Can we equate the impulse behind making clothes sparkle with our own tendency to bedeck country singers' outfits with rhinestones or game show hostesses' dresses with sequins? Maybe, but only if we add generous helpings of design and excellent taste. The works share astounding handicraft and great visual and material inventiveness, some of it driven by iconography (shells for fertility, mirrors to deflect the evil eye), but much of it clearly inspired by a playful love of pattern and color. One child's collar from China uses a familiar dragon motif, but rendered with rounded, bright gentleness that looks fitting to a child even to these Western eyes. We all have to cover ourselves, but I didn't expect to feel such kinship with these objects.