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Curator Confesses: I Wear Jeans

Posted by Geoff Edgers  November 5, 2009 03:36 PM

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Scanning the “25 Most Stylish Bostonians,” I was struck by the interview with João Ribas. In particular, I wondered about the claim by the new curator at MIT’s List Visual Art Center that he doesn’t own a pair of jeans. That doesn’t sound like the guy I talked to a few weeks ago. Ribas seemed personable and funny.

Turns out, he was surprised to see how he came across in the piece, too, and by the criticism he’s received on-line.

“I was poking fun at me being on the list,” he told me. “Because I’ve only been here for a month, and I thought it was great. I thought it was flattering and wanted to have fun …. If you feature me in something like this, my instinct is to ridicule my inclusion with people who probably are indeed stylish and fashionable. I’m a nerd.

On your blog today you put up a definition of “parody.”

Yeah, because I was parodying myself. Just parodying the idea of being someone who doesn’t really think that much about fashion.

If you could do it all again, would you have excised the word “couturier” from your vocabulary?

I would hope that things said in a joking matter and meant to be lighthearted and fun would be taken that way.

And this jeans thing you said… it’s kind of an exaggeration, right?

It’s a total exaggeration.

Your jeans, though, are they special? Do they have something on them that would make them special?

No, not at all. They’re just a pair of jeans.

You were taken aback and upset about the response to this feature by some people.

I was trying to have a sense of humor about it. I don’t spend a lot of my time thinking or dealing with fashion. But it was nice to be asked. I thought it was a great welcoming gesture.

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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