Artist/Rebel/Dandy documents the enduring, global impact of the dandy—that distinctively dressed figure who has pervaded Western culture for more than two centuries. From Beau Brummell in the late 18th century to the international style-makers of today, this character epitomizes the powerful bond between clothing, identity, and creativity. Garbed with great intention and at least a hint of provocation, the dandy is forward-thinking, conscientious, and thoroughly artistic.
This presentation celebrates exquisitely crafted personal ensembles and visual representations associated with individual dandies around the world. The featured personalities are grouped to suggest kinship across chronological and geographic borders under the themes of historians, connoisseurs, revolutionaries, romantics, and explorers. The items on display represent the dandy as an international figure, but they also reflect the tableaux visible every day in RISD’s creative environment. They illustrate how experimental self-invention, the constructive urge to challenge the status quo, and the power of well-crafted clothing work together in the lives of these remarkable individuals who are at once artists, rebels, and dandies.