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Recycle LACMA Gives New Life to Museum Castoffs

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A pair of Ikat-print pants becomes a sail for a model ship. Image via <a href="">Recycle LACMA</a>
A pair of Ikat-print pants becomes a sail for a model ship. Image via Recycle LACMA

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Is there life after LACMA? While many cultural castoffs might be doomed for a life in storage (or worse), artist Robert Fontenot is striving to restore a few of the museum's discarded pieces to everyday utility. Since buying upwards of 50 deaccessioned garments from LACMA's Costume and Textile collection earlier this year, Fontenot has launched a blog called Recycle LACMA, which details his attempts to "find new uses for these otherwise unwanted items." His experiments provide a really fascinating insight into what can be done with a little ingenuity—a panel from a lace dress is turned into a screen for a door, a fur-trimmed coat becomes a child's lion costume, while a James Galanos coat is repurposed to become a set of car seat covers.

Even so, we have to admit we did cringe a little when we saw a great Claire McCardell dress from the '50s that had been turned into a witch's hat—a criticism that's been thrown at the project more than once since its inception. After all, isn't it just a little blasphemous that these pieces, which were once deemed important enough to be in a museum, are now serving time as dog beds and aprons? Our verdict is no—after all, clothing isn't made to sit behind glass. It's designed to be a part of someone's life, and we have a feeling these designers would be pleased to see that their creations now have a second chance to do just that—even if it's not in the way they originally intended.
· Ex LACMA Art Gets Upcycled Into Pretty Useful Objects [Green LA Girl]
· Recycle LACMA [Official Site]