An exhibit taking place right now in a Massachusetts museum draws on worker safety tragedies of the past and present and focuses attention on our relationship with the people who make the clothes we wear – especially those in third world countries.
Created by artist Rachel Breen and poet Alison Morse, The Price of Our Clothes is a “material meditation on garment factory disasters,” according to the Perlman Teaching Museum, Braucher Gallery, which is hosting it. The exhibition includes mixed-media artwork that is sewn, painted, stitched on and/or punctured with a sewing machine, powerful sound pieces, poems, and performances.
The exhibition’s most powerful image is comprised of 1,281 white garments hanging from the ceiling of the gallery. Those items of clothing represent the number of workers killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, March 25th, 1911 and the collapse of garment factories at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, April 24th, 2013.
Breen and Morse traveled to Bangladesh to research “The Price of Our Shirts,” touring factories and speaking to workers and worker safety activists. They write about their experiences and impressions on their blog.
The Price of Our Clothes is on view through April 27 at the Perlman Teaching Museum, Weitz Center for Creativity, 320 Third Street, Northfield, Minnesota. Ten of Alison Morse’s poems can be heard via telephone by calling 612-424-4819.