How did this video work come into being? How is it related to your iconic Outfitumentary, which was shown at and acquire by MoMA, New York in 2016?
K8 Hardy: Express Looks is the fast food version of Outfitumentary. It’s cut for the exhibition space and the time that people spend walking around looking at art. It’s the social media of the feature length film. It’s the Tik Tok and the MTV. It’s the ADHD.
You started the Outfitumentary project in 2001 and proceeded to film your outfits for 10 years. How do you see the work today in light of selfie-culture and social media? How have the ways of self-expression change over time, in your opinion?
KH: I decided to release Outfitimentary once selfie-culture got so big. Originally, I was waiting until I was 90 years old, but I realized that it is important for the record. It’s important for young people to see how fast this phenomenon took over our world. It starts with a real awkwardness, and my friends making fun of me for filming myself, something that is just unfathomable today.
Throughout your oeuvre your work has revolved a lot around fashion. When and how did your interest in fashion start and how did you decide to incorporate it in your work?
Do you feel like this series speaks to the contemporary climate?
KH: My work has involved a lot of self portraiture and bodies. The bodies are dressed. I see style as a material, a place to make more meaning, and add depth. If I didn’t pay attention, or down-played the dress, you lose yet another opportunity to make meaning in your work, to have a conversation about class, identity, and place. So I really look at it as an opportunity to do more. It carries into how I dress in my daily life. It’s a way for me to work through some of my ideas. It would have been more acceptable in the art world for me to ignore fashion. I am drawn to that unspoken rule that fashion has no place in art, and the tension between the two. I think artists need to go into the ickiness, into the subjects that provoke and make people uncomfortable.
For those who can’t make it to the gallery, be sure to watch our video of K8‘s Storefront Show below!