About the project
Art History Fashion
Art History Fashion is a side project by Betty Quinn examining how visual cues from the past permeate contemporary images in fashion. The coded meaning found in artworks within elements such as body language, color, and composition, weave throughout our visual culture, sometimes subconsciously. Art History Fashion aims to document these purposeful homages, unconscious similarities and at times, complete coincidences.
As for how this project started...
Back when I was an admittedly slightly snooty high schooler, I dismissed art history as a useless subject -- you look at art and you either understand it or you don't (funny how what was at the time self-assurance quickly devolves into cringe years later). To my dismay, I was required to take a modern art history course in college to complete my studio art degree. Eager to get it done and over with, I enrolled my first semester...and walked out the first lecture completely exhilarated by my professor's story behind "Lavender Mist" by Jackson Pollock. Thus began my love affair for teaching people -- especially those who don't consider themselves artistically literate -- how to "read" artworks and understand art movements.
Over time, I found that I was drawn to teaching through mediums outside of typical museum labels or brochures. As an intern at MoMA and the Met Museum, I experimented a lot with emerging technology. Some projects I've done in the past: 3D scanning, mixing and printing museum sculptures, interactive installations to discover previous versions of famous works, developing apps to teach visitors about algorithms in Islamic art and recreating a Jackson Pollock in virtual reality. I have a deep desire to make art history more accessible, more relatable and this Instagram project is another way of expressing that desire.
Professionally, I now work in the tech industry as a product designer, another love of mine. I've been lucky to have found opportunities and time to merge my skills in design and technology with my passion for art history through these projects. Art History Fashion originally grew out of another iteration of my Madame X project -- however, I needed a more scaled down version to maintain it as a side project while working professionally and this Instagram project was born.
This is a project I do in my spare time -- part discipline development, part compulsive passion. I hope, at the very least, some of the comparisons bring delight to people. I know I get nerdy giddy over a particularly obscure match and that's a feeling I want to share with my followers. After all, art history is quite literally everywhere around us.