Don’t Miss MAD Museum’s Counter-Couture Exhibit for Amazing Boho Inspiration

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Installation view of Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture. Photo: Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

Want some serious boho inspo? If you’re in town for NY Women’s Market, make time for “Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture” closing this month at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York. You won’t want to miss this amazing analysis of boho style in the 60s and 70s.

The show displays garments, jewelry and accessories by American makers who crafted their social vision. The works on display reflect the ethos of a generation of Counterculturists who—against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement—rejected the consumerist and conformist ideals of the American Dream.

Installation view of Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture. Photo: Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

It was all about self-expression, self-reliance, connection to nature, and love for community. Think free love versus the traditional nuclear family.

“When I was fifteen years old, I found a copy of Alexandra Jacopetti Hart’s book Native Funk &Flash,” said Guest Curator Michael Cepress, “which led me to devote more than half of my life so far to researching a period in history that I find deeply inspiring.” Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture represents the culmination of that research. The exhibition “shares the vital stream of passion, ideas, and artist activists who chose fashion to help create a better world for us all,” said Cepress. “As the show now begins to travel, it is an honor to showcase it at MAD and bring the magic of it all to a New York audience.”


“Artists such as Kaisik Wong and The Cockettes put craft and the handmade at the center of their daily revolution,” said Assistant Curator Barbara Paris Gifford. “Wearing garments, jewelry, and personal accessories not only as forms of wearable art, but also as inextricable symbols of their personal and political allegiances. Each artist acted as celebrant and author of America’s Counterculture movement.”

Detail of Walking Sculpture Blue Jeans, c. 1973, Cotton, denim. Photo: Rex Rystedt
Courtesy of the Bellevue Arts Museum

Artists represented in the exhibition alongside Wong include 100% Birgitta (Birgitta Bjerke), Alexandra Jacopetti Hart, Alex & Lee, Apple Cobbler (Mickey McGowan), and Dina Knapp.

Closes August 20. madmuseum.org

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