Striped Jeogori by you.

What happens when art ceases becoming art? Or more accurately, when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art decides to get rid of a whole bunch of items from its costumes and textiles collection? In January, LACMA deaccessioned more than 100 items — and L.A.-based artist Robert Fontenot decided to buy more than 50 of them. Now, he’s blogging his effort to find new uses for these old items.

That blog’s Recycle LACMA (via everydaytrash). And once I got done wondering why so many of these deaccessioned items were Korean, I started really getting into the site. Each post highlights a deaccessioned item — with a photo, description, and an Accession Number — and the new item it’s been transformed into. A skirt’s turned into pretty aprons, trousers into teddy bears, a coat into a kite.

Robert upcycles more than the once-museum objects themselves. To turn trousers into a sail required a boat for the sail, for example — so “A sail-less boat was found. A mainsail template was drafted by measuring the boom and the mast. A jib template was also drafted. A section of the cotton was joined to a section of the synthetic fabric using a flat-felled seam. Sails were then cut, hemmed, and attached to the boat.”

This project too has its controversy though. Ethical Style, for example, wonders if gorgeous vintage dresses should be taken apart to make something less wearable. Of course, the fact that vintage fashionistas didn’t snap up the dress at LACMA’s auction does make me think maybe there wasn’t such a huge demand to wear the dress as is.

It’s a bit sad that an object is one day a museum-worthy work of art, then the next an unwanted old dress. At least the item’s gotten new life as a lacy screen for an antique door.

Photos: Recycle LACMA

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