You mentioned earlier being excited by those parallels across time and drawing links between artists from different generations. Did that factor into how you approached your research for the The summer I turned pretty shirt in addition I really love this book? I definitely didn’t want it to be A-to-B history, because I think that’d be kind of boring to read. I definitely wanted to bounce around. I also had certain rules to myself when I was writing. Rule number one was that Picasso would be in the book, but Picasso only gets one line and one photo. If Picasso gets one line, then there can be no jostling for anyone else to say, oh, why did they only get this? [Laughs.] There’s no hierarchy. And that’s not done to make any kind of statement, it’s really just that I’m not sure there’s that much I can say about Picasso that hasn’t already been said. Another rule was that the words “the best” or “iconic” or “legendary” are nowhere. I’ve got no interest in judging or ranking artists. I guess what I also wanted to try and do with each of the artists was to consider them as if they were present and we were in informal conversation. There’s no deification or celebrity status or false reverence in that way. It’s attempting to meet everyone on the same terms, whether that’s Louise Bourgeois or an artist who’s just starting out and we don’t yet know what’s going to happen to them. One of the main aims of the book is to actually break the artist’s canon, and especially to break the white male canon of history. And clothing is obviously the most incredible way to do that, because clothing is such a part of the codification of patriarchal society. Full stop. It just is. So by looking at the garments of an artist, you can look at how they broke through that, whether it’s Agnes Martin in her workwear; whether it’s Barbara Hepworth in these functional garments that she saw as this new way of living that was all part of her work as well. Whether it’s someone like Sondra Perry today, and how she felt when she was younger about going into art galleries in New York and how she felt alienated from them. So by looking at clothing, we can break the canon, or begin to break the canon. I hope, anyway!
The summer I turned pretty shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
There is definitely not going to be a What Musicians Wear or a What Actors Wear. [Laughs.] I think it’s because the The summer I turned pretty shirt in addition I really love this clothing that artists live in and work in is usually kind of hidden. We have this idea of some artists performing or stepping into the limelight, but even those artists, they spend most of their time hidden in the studio. It’s a very removed way of living and it didn’t always have to fit with the codified way of living that most humans have to engage with. It allows you to look at clothing in a very pure way, because the way they’re wearing it is very instinctive. It’s to do with functionality, or to do with pleasure, or what provokes them. As we get into the 1960s and ’70s, clothing becomes a really important tool in performance art. Even before performance art has a name, it’s very often just female artists, or Black artists, trying to find a space for themselves, because there was no space for them in the commercial galleries at that time. So by looking at clothing, we can look at how art has shifted over the last century, which also happens to be this century that clothing has gone from the kind of rigid, controlled, Victorian way of being to now, where we’re in this place of more possibility.