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Fashion 时装 Moda МОДА, whose name comes from “fashion” in English, Chinese, Spanish and Russian, colloquially referred to as Fashion Moda, started as a cultural concept guided by the idea that art can be made by anyone, anywhere. Fashion Moda was an art space located in the South Bronx, New York founded by Stefan Eins in 1978. As a museum of science, art, invention, technology, and fantasy, it was an alternative art space that combined aspects of a community arts center and a worldwide progressive arts organization until its closing in 1993.
Fashion Moda was an art space founded by Stephen Eins in 1978 after closing his previous project, the 3 Mercer Store. Eins was soon joined by artist Joe Lewis and William Scott, a young teenager from the neighborhood as co-directors. The gallery was located on 2803 Third Avenue in the South Bronx, outside the traditional art gallery district emerging in Soho at the time. Despite this, Fashion Moda quickly became a strong voice in the New York art world during the late 1970’s and the 1980’s. The venue provided a platform for exchanges between downtown Manhattan artists, graffiti writers artist, and Bronx residents. The space encouraged the production of creative art, unhampered by the contemporary art market and academic art training. As such, it was a center for many downtown and local South Bronx artists, writers, and performance artists to workshop their ideas and first display their works. Fashion Moda received funding annually with grants from the National Endowment for the Art and the New York State Council of the Arts. In addition to art shows, the space held auctions, performances, seminars, and other events.
With the South Bronx location, Fashion Moda was closely tied to the global emergence of Hip Hop. Exhibitions and events were usually accompanied by musical performances including those from talents ranging from Afrika Bambaataa or Rammellzee to jazz musicians such as Jerome Cooper and Rasul Siddik.
Fashion Moda played a major role in the graffiti art by presenting one of the first graffiti exhibitions. Curated by the 19-year-old John “CRASH” Matos, the Graffiti Art Success for America show featured artists such as Fab 5 Freddy, Futura 2000, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones, Fekner, Zephyr, Disco 107.5, Kel 139th, Mitch 77, Nac 143, Noc 167, and Stan 153. It was one of the first spaces to allow artists to paint directly on the walls and facade of the gallery. This influential show opened up new possibilities for the art form by allowing street artists to connect with critics, collectors, and curators.
Fashion Moda spotlighted such artists as David Wojnarowicz, Keith Haring, Jane Dickson, Stefan Roloff, Jenny Holzer, Mark Kostabi, Kenny Scharf, Carson Grant, Joe Lewis, Thom Corn, John Ahearn, Lisa Kahane, Christy Rupp, John Fekner, Don Leicht, Jacek Tylicki, Stefan Eins himself and graffiti artists like Richard Hambleton, Koor, Daze, Crash, Spank, and many others.
In addition to highlighting new talent, Fashion Moda was a major force in establishing new venues. In 1980, Fashion Moda collaborated with the downtown progressive artist collective, Colab (Collaborative Projects Inc.), on the Times Square Show, which introduced uptown graffiti-related art to downtown art and punk scenes. Set up in an abandoned massage parlor, the Times Square Show included a mock store, performances, graffiti, a punching bag, peep shows, protest actions, and parodic manifestos. The goal of these shows was to legitimize an art form outside of the traditional art scene and exhibit it to the mainstream art world.
In 1982, Fashion Moda was invited to participate in Documenta 7, a quinquennial contemporary art exhibition held in Kassel, Germany. At this event, a store was set up like the Time Square Show where shirts, prints, and novelty items from participating artists could be bought. A video lounge was also set up so that artists’ videos could be watched and purchased. The exhibition reflected the idea of art as a commodity and its power to spread social messages.
Joe Lewis left Fashion Moda in 1982 and the space became largely community-oriented. It continued shows until its official closing in 1993.
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- New York Open to the PublicBy Cheri Fein. 1982.
- Julie Ault. Alternative Art, New York, 1965-1985. University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
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- Spampinato, Francesco. "Fashion Moda: A South Bronx Story, Waxpoetics, N.55, May 2013 (Eng.)".
- SAMUELS, TANYANIKA (15 February 2013). "The legacy of Fashion Moda, a shuttered art and performance space, to be spotlighted". New York Daily News. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "Don't Forget Fashion 时装 Moda МОДА". Hyperallergic. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
- diallo, David (2014). "From the Street to Art Galleries : How Graffiti Became a Legitimate Art Form". Open Edition. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- Morgan, Tiernan (August 6, 2015). "35 Years After Fashion Moda, a Bronx Gallery Revisits the Landmark Space". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- The New York Times, August 27, 2009 https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/arts/27urbanart.html
- DART Magazine, January 2011 http://www.normhinsey.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/dartreview.pdf
- Sally Webster. Fashion Moda: A Bronx Experience. 1996. http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/gallery/talkback/fmwebster.html
- "Hope Is Artists' Medium in a Bronx Neighborhood"New York Times, December 27, 2000.
- NYU's Fales Library and Special Collections Guide to the Fashion Moda Archive