Mannequins Unveiled

By Louise Irvine

Mannequins have always been a feature of WMODA exhibitions celebrating Fashion and the Fired Arts. Initially, they were just vehicles for displaying the creations of the designers. Now they have become works of art thanks to an initiative by the Daniel and Trudy Regan Foundation which has inspired artists to honor the human form with themes of strength, hope, and love in times of adversity.

Their mission to support artists in the New York area during the pandemic has expanded to include artists working with the Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts in South Florida. Not only have the Regans inspired and sustained artists who have struggled through the pandemic, but they are also upcycling obsolete mannequins and rescuing them “from the death sentence they received as store closings affected every town in America.”

As WMODA celebrates the Fired Arts, it was important for the Florida project to reflect the museum’s mission and work with artists in our local community. The first mannequins will be unveiled at the Wiener Museum during Miami Art Week on Saturday, December 4.

Several glass artists are creating shattered souls from recycled glass to reflect different glassmaking processes including fused and mosaic. Celina Lima was inspired by the Rio Carnival from her native Brazil. Scherry Donato and Anne Orvieto collaborated to create Amphitrite, the Greek Goddess of the Sea. Rob Stern revamped his suit of lights and mirrors honoring Venetian maestro Pino Signoretto. Fashion designer, Tatiana Cochagne, is working with recycled muslin and pearls to reimagine her mannequin as Queen Marie Antoinette.

Public artist, Lloyd Goradesky, is well known for his kindness project Let Love Guide Your Way and he created a kind Queen of Hearts mannequin for our Through the Looking Glass season celebrating Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Rey Lozano also went down the rabbit hole for inspiration and used mirror fragments on functional mannequin lights and tables.

The project leader, Chelsea Rousso, is no stranger to mannequins from her career as a fashion designer, teacher, and author on trends and forecasting. She has fused these talents with kiln-formed wearable glass art which she presents at fashion runway shows. Several of Chelsea’s glasskinis and corsets can be seen on the mannequins at WMODA and they will come to life on Saturday, December 4 at noon when her model will wear glass art alongside our new “silent partners” for the debut of the museum’s Mannequin Project.

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The Mannequin Project