new-york

McDermott and McGough

Sperone Westwater

McDermott and McGough’s latest installment of what seems to be a lifelong project—reassessing or commenting upon the present by conjuring up campy versions of an imaginary past—is concerned once again with matters of form. These works, like the resplendent dandyism of McDermott and McGough’s public personae (the couple are often seen about town in full Edwardian attire), invite viewers to ponder the question of appearance, vivifying the Wildean valorization of style over substance and form over content.

The first eight drawings encountered upon entering the gallery resemble either 19th-century commercial signage or clothing illustrations. What is being sold here is the image of fashion; for fashion, as Roland Barthes suggested, exists to create desire. It is the desire engendered by the quirky, bold men’s fashion illustrations (largely from the early part of the century) that seem to have

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