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Fashion as World-Building in the Years of Post-Communist Transition

02.15.2024 05:30 PM

Event Summary

Tamás Király and a model wearing a hat resembling the dome of the Hungarian Parliament (with the Parliament in the background), 1989. Photo by Jonathan Csaba Almási.

This talk focused on the work of Tamás Király (1952–2013), one of Hungary’s most iconic underground artists in the 1980s and 1990s, who combined fashion with playful, iconoclast and gender-bending performances in Budapest in the last years of state socialism. Placing Király’s work in dialogue with avant-garde fashion scenes that illuminated the cultural capitals of the former East, the talk explored the role of fashion events—from the Avant-Garde Fashion Assembly in Tbilisi to the Untamed Fashion Assembly in Riga—as they shaped forms of world-building around collapse of the Soviet Union. Finally, the placed Király’s work in dialogue with the drag, performance, and experimental theatre of the “Downtown scene” in New York in the 1980s and 1990s.

This event was organized by the Costumes and Collapse research project at the Neubauer Collegium. Co-sponsored by the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago.

About the Speaker

Gyula Muskovics is a Budapest-based curator, writer, artist, and co-founder of the Hollow immersive performance art group. He is currently a Fulbright Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and NYU. Gyula’s works and publications are motivated by a pull toward the edge and revolve around subversion, queer desire, intimacy, and the political capabilities of the body. He has performed, created, and curated events in off-sites, theaters, galleries, and festivals including Trafó House of Contemporary Arts (Budapest, HU), House of Arts (Brno, CZ), MeetFactory (Prague, CZ), radialsystem (Berlin, DE), and Donaufestival (Krems, AT). He is currently a PhD candidate at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. His essays and articles have appeared in The European Journal of Women Studies, DIK Fagazine, CTM Magazine and post–MoMA.