Polyester--the "miracle" fabric known for being absolutely unnatural, feeling clammy next to the skin, retaining odor, requiring no ironing and even less taste from its wearers--will be celebrated tonight as San Francisco's Museum of Modern Mythology unveils for the press what is believed to be the first-ever exhibit of "historic" polyester shirts.
The collection, "100% Polyester: Shirts of Art from the Palette of Science," has attracted national media attention far in advance of its official benefit opening Thursday evening. The fund-raiser's appropriately low-rent admission price, $8 at the door, is roughly the cost of a 100% polyester shirt in its heyday, say organizers.
A purist's show if ever there were one, it has been meticulously edited to contain no blends (synthetics mixed with natural fibers to disguise the imposters). The exhibition also spotlights what many consider the kitschiest designs ever to appear on fabric, among them renditions of Disney characters in such works of art as "Blue Boy" and "Whistler's Mother." The exhibit, which contains "hundreds" of shirts, opens to the public Friday and continues through Dec. 31.
According to museum board member Jack Mingo, the collection of "unnatural fibers, unspeakable patterns" represents "the golden decade of Dacron, roughly 1969 to 1979." He considers the exhibit "a closet chronicle of some of the best and worst impulses of art and design ranging from the merely tasteless to the eye-gougingly garish."