Eckhaus Latta: Possessed highlights the work of Eckhaus Latta, a compelling young design team who belongs to a new generation of designers operating at the intersection of fashion and contemporary art. The New York- and Los Angeles-based fashion label was founded in 2011 by Mike Eckhaus (b. 1987) and Zoe Latta (b. 1987), who met as students at the Rhode Island School of Design. They are known for using unexpected materials, emphasizing texture and tactility in their designs, and for incorporating writing, performance, and video into their practice. Through collaborations with artists, musicians, and others, and an approach that plays both with and against industry conventions, Eckhaus Latta addresses the crosscurrents of desire, social relations, and consumption.
For their first solo museum exhibition, Eckhaus Latta will present a new three-part installation that embraces and brings into conversation various aspects of the fashion industry, from advertising and the consumer experience to voyeurism. The installation begins with a sequence of photographs that play on the tropes of iconic fashion photospreads, exploring how Eckhaus Latta’s unique aesthetic functions in relation to the highly polished look of the industry’s media. The core of Possessed is an operational retail environment in which visitors may touch, try on, and purchase clothing and accessories designed specifically for the show. Elements of the space—such as clothing racks, display shelves, and a dressing room—were created by more than a dozen artists with whom Eckhaus Latta has been in dialogue. The exhibition concludes with a darkened room, evocative of a security office, which features a bank of screens depicting surveillance footage. Visitors will have a voyeuristic view of the rest of the installation, as well as a glimpse into the tracking and surveillance that often accompanies the experience of shopping.
Eckhaus Latta: Possessed is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, and Lauri London Freedman, head of product development.
And you can “shop” the gallery space and buy the clothes, too.
For the label’s owners, Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus, this is a major stride forward, both in terms of recognition and of introducing their work to a wider audience. For the museum, it’s a bold move with an element of risk. How will critics and Whitney patrons feel about the museum selling duds on the first floor?
On the other hand, the concept that Eckhaus and Latta have proposed, with associate curator Christopher Y. Lew and Lauri London Freedman, the museum’s head of product development, could be a smash hit. The exhibit will run from August 3 to October 8.
The plan for “Eckhaus Latta: Possessed” is a three-part installation that reflects various aspects of the fashion industry, like advertising and voyeurism. Visitors will first see a sequence of photographs intended to comment on the type of images found in fashion ads and magazines. The centerpiece of the installation will be an operational retail space, with clothing and accessories designed for the show. According to a statement from the Whitney, the core space will be done in collaboration with more than a dozen artists with whom “Eckhaus Latta has been in dialogue over the years.” They will contribute such elements as clothing racks, display shelves, and a dressing room. Among the artists are Susan Cianciolo, Jeffrey Joyal, Lauren Davis Fisher, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, and Amy Yao.