PRINT October 1978

Fashion/Style/Custom: Alan Cote and David Diao

CRITICISM IS A FUNCTION OF its own investigatory technique. The paintings discussed here are seen through the frame of fashion versus custom, fashion being concerned with the novel, quality commodity of tomorrow, custom maintaining and varying yesterday’s (more likely yesteryear’s) received ideas of integrity, utility, durability. What are the uses of fashion and custom?

For Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, “One of the peculiar elements of fashion lies in its quality of presenting change or novelty as necessary, hence endowing the temporary with a psychological illusion of permanence.”1 Kennedy Fraser describes the two-stage apprehension of the evidence as “ . . . the bobbing markers of the otherwise hidden course of some of the great currents of the times, and later as instruments to aid in the interpretations of those currents.”2 Does “fashion” differ from the art historian’s use of the term “

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