The City Reliquary Museum is a non-profit community museum that tells the history of NYC and its inhabitants through their permanent collection of small objects and ephemera as well as a community collections cabinet in which selected individuals have the opportunity to curate a small exhibition on objects they collect. Past exhibits have varied from an assortment of rock collections, ceramic unicorns, and bones to representations of the Virgin Mary, Coca-Cola products, and vintage roller skates. As a volunteer, I had the chance to be a cabinet curator, choosing a collection inspired by an article about the re-opening of NYC’s Rainbow Room in 2014. During a renovation of the iconic rotating dance floor, confetti from the 1940s was reportedly found. Since reading that article, my collection now includes turn of the century illustrations and postcards of confetti and vintage confetti & confetti branded items from the 1920s to the 1990s.
Given the small scale of the exhibit space, I kept text limited to a brief history of confetti and created a visual clutter of objects on beds of confetti as if everything was just thrown together in the spirit of confetti’s purpose. I also included a shelf of NYC centric objects to relate back to the mission statement of the museum including official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti c. 1993. This confetti inspired programming for the museum with an outstanding talk by “confetti king” Treb Heining who created and has managed the confetti drop in Times Square for almost 30 years.
Since graduating from the MA fashion Curation course at LCF in 2012 I inevitably (whether consciously or subconsciously) end up relating everything to the field of dress. Beyond literal interpretations of confetti and fashion, I included real photos and illustrations of happy revellers doused in confetti. It is in these images that confetti becomes a temporary accessory captured in a moment of celebration before being brushed off. This moment illuminates a likeness between the ephemeral nature of confetti and the increasingly ephemeral nature of fashion as trends replace trends and inherent vice takes its toll on older pieces and collections.
Being taught by Amy de la Haye & Judith Clark, coupled with placements while on the course at the Alexander McQueen Archive and The Met’s Costume Institute have directly informed my current career working with collections. I have spent time at the Costume Institute and other fashion archives including Tom Ford and Proenza Schouler (through The Wardrobe) and the Ralph Lauren Library. I have now been at Ralph Lauren for 6 years and currently serve as the archive’s Director of Systems and Operations encompassing collections, digital asset, and project management.
Outside of my full-time work, I have been able to adapt a number of projects I started while at LCF including a presentation on my final project at the Costume Colloquium IV: Colors in Fashion in Florence, Italy entitled Imagining Color: Fashion and the Hand Colored Real Photo Postcard and a cabinet-sized version of my exhibition In a Feline Fashion at The Algonquin Hotel, NYC.
While my Confetti collection is on view within a small display within a small museum, I argue takeaways are just as mighty if not mightier than a blockbuster museum exhibit. The City Reliquary offers evidence of the past and present, the everyday, the obscure, and most importantly the individual. So here’s a confetti filled cheers to that!
April 12, 2019
All photos by Jennifer Rice unless otherwise noted
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