Tanya Marcuse's Undergarments and Armor


Tanya Marcuse, Corset with Silk Ribbon 1880s (from the collection of the Museum at FIT)

Don’t miss the exhibit Love & War: The Weaponized Woman, which will close this Saturday. Of particular notice are the photographs of Tanya Marcuse, which have been recently published in a beautiful clothbound book by Nazraeli Press with an introduction by Valerie Steele. Marcuse received a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph undergarments and armor in a number of museums and archives in the U.S. and England. The beautifully evocative pictures trace parallels between these seemingly polarized categories of dressing by focusing on highly structured undergarments such as bustles, corsets and cage crinolines, and on amor which mirror the bodily contour of the wearer, thus “unveiling” the inside of the body rather than shielding it. As Valerie Steele points out in the book’s introduction, Marcuse’s plates (which often capture these garments still on their museums’ forms) perfectly illustrate that “certain poetic beauty in the historical remains of the past.”