The Work of Art in the Age of Global Fashion Production


My first reaction when proposing an alternate design strategy for GAP founder Don Fisher’s proposed contemporary art museum? GAP clothing. The man runs a global fashion empire, so why not scan his entire art collection and transfer it to the fabrics used in his clothing? He wants to share his collection with the world, so why not expand it infinitely beyond the walls of a gallery? The “museum” is no longer limited to a single site and its opening becomes a world-wide event of debatable import. Of course, the clothing won’t have the “aura”—to borrow a phrase from Walter Benjamin—of the originals, but what it lacks in authenticity it will make up for in commodity. If each reproduction truly does, as Benjamin speculates, diminish the “quality of presence” of the original, won’t each garment eventually have the same value as the original piece when reproduced in the quantities made possible by the massive scale GAP’s industrial fabrication and distribution?

Or you know, someone could just design a better building.

&#183 Reconsidering A Museum in San Francisco’s Presidio [Life Without Buildings]