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Camp is not all that shines - Met Gala 2019.


Dolly Parton's puffy hairstyles and similar "drag style" wigs

represent with exaggerated details the first association to the camp

Retrieved from: DazeDigital and HJI

Lady Gaga, known for her eccentric looks and demeanor, is a great example of a celebrity who, according to many, along with designer Brandon Maxwell, was "up to the task" at the 2019 Met Gala. . She appeared primarily in a huge pink dress and gradually, taking off one dress at a time, she afforded the audience a performance that she ended up dressed only in underwear and with above-average high heels on the shoes she wore. Many fashion critics were thrilled to see Celine Dion in a shiny dress, arguing that the singer was the "epithet of the camp", young actress Zendaya Coleman wore a dress that was clearly inspired by the story of Cinderella, even her stylist played a good fairy during the performance, swung a magic wand and the dress began to shine. Jared Leto, Harry Styles and most men toyed mainly with the issue of femininity and masculinity in their costumes, thus giving and demonstrating the importance of the camp stronghold in gay communities. Most of the invited members, by default, came in interesting and not at all simple costumes, but the question arises, is everything that shines a camp? If we return to the initial thesis that the camp is a form of communication with the audience, then what was the essence of that communication? Did singer Katy Perry actually hit the crux of the subject by appearing dressed as a chandelier, despite numerous criticisms? Is our confusion with her choice of costume, in fact, a sufficient criterion to characterize something as a "camp"? We can question whether Marina Abramović's exhibitions are part of high culture or actually belong to the camp. The cyclical nature of the term can be noticed here as well, because we could, based on the given parameters from the literature, consider that Marina Abramović's exhibitions belong to high culture and camp at the same time. What, in fact, does Marina Abramović want to communicate with her audience through her, often incomprehensible, exhibitions? I would say that exhibitions of this kind, in addition to contributing to the popularity of contemporary art, allow the camp to interest members of the upper classes. 

Photo gallery from Met Gale 2019 of the mentioned designers and celebrities in the text

It can be assumed that Shuvaković's understanding is preceded by Georg Simmel's reflection on the abstract, non-utilitarian character of fashion:


" While our clothes, for example, are generally practically adapted to our needs, the decisions that shape fashion do not have the slightest trace of purpose: whether they wear wide or narrow skirts, high or wide hairstyles, colorful or black ties. Sometimes modern things are so ugly and repulsive as if fashion wants to show its power precisely by accepting even the most disgusting things because of it; it is the coincidence with which she once commands what is purposeful, secondly something obstructive, thirdly something practical and aesthetically completely indifferent, that shows her complete indifference with regard to the norms of practical life, thus pointing to different motivations, namely typically social as the only ones. which remain. This abstractness of fashion, which is based on its longest essence and as 'unrealism', gives a certain aesthetic stamp to what is modern even in completely non-aesthetic areas, also develops in historical phenomena ”(Simmel, 1919: 226, 227).


The author emphasizes that fashion is the result of class division, which can be concluded on the basis of the above. Fashion, as such, belongs to the upper classes, due to the poor wealth of large sections of the population (class distance) but also due to the rapid change of trends that also the lower classes can not afford, and when these fashion "trends" are on the shelves and store shelves, intended for mass consumption, then these "trends" go out of "fashion" because the accessibility of the same to different social strata implies the apparent merging (consumerist unification) of different classes.

The text is an excerpt from the work of researcher Jelena Jovanović , which will be presented in the final publication of the project, "Camping the trash out "


Text prepared by: Uroš Đurović

One of the intriguing aspects of the camp is its pseudo-irony, which can be seen in the example of the fashion camp setting ("Camp: Notes on Fashion") at the Met Gala for 2019 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). The name of the installation itself is a reference to the author Suzan Zontag and her work Notes on Camp. This example shows the multi-layered meaning of the camp and specifically shows the counterpoint between that part of mass culture dominated by kitsch, thrash and many other forms of subculture and, colloquially speaking, high culture, which was once defined by Edgar Morin, as he himself he says, with a somewhat vague notion of "cultural culture."  Based on the case study "Met Gala", I want to test the hypothesis that indicates the cyclical nature of the camp, ie. how over time the camp penetrates from mass to high culture. “ Paradigmatic examples of cynical work in art are camp and punk. In the camp, the subject ecstatically and unreservedly identifies with mass culture (behaves, dresses, speaks and wants in accordance with its values), showing it as a culture of alienation, kitsch, unreasonable meaning, apparent fun, killing time, etc. ”(Šuvaković, 2005: 123 ).

Kemp has been and is an expression of the urban middle class in the West, especially since the 1960s. In the middle of the 20th century, the consumers of camp culture were mostly young people who belonged to the middle lower class. The main representatives of the camp of that time (even today) are artists and / or performers such as David Bowie, Fredy Mercury, Elton John, Madonna, Dolly Parton ), Mae West, Elizabeth Taylor, Lisa Minnelli and many others. These are individuals who had a huge impact on young people during the strengthening of various anti-war movements in America, protests and the fight for women's rights and the establishment of a more democratic society than was existing at that time. 

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