“Skin and Bones,” the show on fashion and architecture currently at MOCA downtown, initially feels like it's setting up an epic visual battle between those who make clothes and those who make buildings, with corresponding displays of clothes, then (fantastic) architectual models by Frank Gehry, then clothes, and so on. But after a while, the show begins arguing that the line between fashion and architecture is very, very thin. Visually, at least. The works that stand out are clothes that communicate as buildings and buildings that communicate as clothes. Look at Foreign Office Architects' plans for a 1997 conceptual work called “Virtual House,” and Shigeru Ban's 1995 “Curtain Wall House” in Tokyo, for architecture that works like fashion. For fashion that works like architecture, consider a piece from Hussein Chayalan's 2000 work “Afterwords,” in which a coffee table turns into a skirt. And Meejin Yoon's 2001 “Defensible Dress,” a prototype for a garment that raises defensive quills when it senses someone coming nearby, like a porcupine. By the end, the line between fashion and architecture totally evaporates. Literally. The final piece highlighted is “Blur Building,” a work from the 2002 Swiss Expo where the 'structural' enclosure is nothing more than mist.
Down the block, at REDCAT underneath Gehry's Disney Hall, curator Eungie Joo put together two delicious and disturbing solo installations by husband-wife duo Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, artists based in Beijing. The pieces, “Restroom M” and “Restroom W,” are walled compartments that really need to be experienced to be appreciated. "Restroom M" houses a golfing green surrounded by carnival-like reflective walls. "Restroom W" is creepier: a bare, cold space, with Chinese-style squat toilets lining one wall, a huge chandelier hanging low overhead, and a macabre surprise in a corner near the exit. The works are premieres and the show is the pair's L.A. debut.