Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner
Audio Guide Playlist

Listen to this audio guide of selected works in the exhibition, Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, co-organized by the Whitney and the Centre Pompidou. 


Narrator: This photograph is called Creation of a False Feeling.

Elisabeth Sussman: You don't know whether this woman is dead or alive, you don't know whether she's outdoors or indoors, you don't know why that vase is next to her in that position. Has it hit her on the head? I mean, there are all sorts of possibilities. This is, you don't know, looking at this picture, if, really, what you're looking at is an ad for the very nice jacket that she has on.

This is a typical technique of a certain kind of fashion photography that you create a mood and ambiance that doesn't necessarily tell you a lot about the clothes, the way they look and fit and so on. But it tells you a lot about the kind of mood that you could project in a sort of fantasy of wearing this outfit.

Narrator: The image was produced by the Bernadette Corporation, an artist collective founded in 1993. Its members came together to make art, do fashion design, and explore the boundaries between commerce, advertising and art.

Elisabeth Sussman: What they're doing is mimicking, I think, an extreme fashion photography. At the same time, this is part of—they are selling this as an image. They were very much part of a New York scene in the early 2000s that was questioning the economics of the art world, the foundations of it, who found that the blurring of those lines between commerce and art were becoming incredibly evident, that investment in art as capital was going on. That all sorts of boundaries were being kind of stepped over, including the one of being an individual artist. The fact that it's a group that calls itself a corporation tells you a lot.


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