Dario Calmese
Fashioning the Black Body

projects+gallery, St. Louis

March 15–May 4, 2019
April 4, 2019
4733 McPherson Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri

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projects+gallery is thrilled to present Fashioning the Black Body, a new mixed-media exhibition organized by artist and curator Dario Calmese. On view through May 4, 2019, this project surveys how fashion, style, and the garment act as devices of investigative storytelling. Featured artists include: Bisa Butler, Soly Cissé, Renee Cox, David Antonio Cruz, Kenturah Davis, Hassan Hajjaj, Basil Kincaid, Mario Moore, Chris Ofili, Fahamu Pecou, Katherine Simóne Reynolds, Jacolby Satterwhite, Stan Squirewell, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley

As a form of identification, self-actualization, and agency, the select artists engage the fashion object from various points of its ontogeny. In turn, Fashioning the Black Body becomes a dialogue about space: the space between black skin and cloth, the space that exists between the historically commodified and fetishized black body, and the space claimed for one’s self-defined identity.

“Far from the reaches of frivolity—a domain to which fashion is usually relegated—Black people have continually engaged the fashion object beyond its utilitarian functions into a device of pride, protection, resistance, and camouflage,” states curator Dario Calmese.

Through the work of these artists, the Black body is transubstantiated into a semipermeable membrane between the gaze and the contents it holds–and more concretely–the tenuous distances between who we are, who we want to be, and how we are perceived.

Dario Calmese is an artist working in photography whose practice includes live performance, video, and text. He received his master’s in photography from School of Visual Arts and his bachelor’s in psychology at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. Classically trained in the performing arts, he uses his knowledge of movement, gesture, and psychology to create characters and narratives that explore history, race, class, and what it means to be human. 

projects+gallery is a commercial art space designed to feature contemporary exhibitions and artists that blur the boundaries of traditionally understood artistic disciplines and practices. In conjunction with Barrett Barrera Projects, a consulting company founded by Susan Barrett in 2014 and specializing in arts, culture and contemporary fashion, projects+gallery features regional, national and international artists working in a variety of mediums.