Emily Spivack: Sentimental Value

Philadelphia Art Alliance

May 17, 2013 to August 23, 2013


Emily Spivack's web-based art project Sentimental Value connects the age-old desire to tell stories through special objects with the easily accessible platform of the Internet. Spivack has recognized a new vernacular mode of expression emerging in the personal narratives accompanying clothing for sale on eBay, which has unintentionally become a repository of surprisingly personal anecdotes and memories. Spivack has been collecting and documenting these stories in all their raw honesty on the Sentimental Value website (sentimental-value.com), and acquiring the objects in the process. This exhibition is the first installation of Sentimental Value in its corporeal form, presenting original source objects alongside the original, unedited text from the listings Spivack found on eBay. A short video narrated by Spivack highlights additional unedited anecdotes along with their corresponding eBay photographs.

About the Artist

Emily Spivack has spent the past ten years exploring the way that clothing functions from a variety of cultural, historical, and therapeutic perspectives. Since 2007, Spivack has been collecting stories about clothing and memory from eBay posts for the web-based art project she curates, Sentimental Value. In 2010, Spivack launched Worn Stories, a collection of stories she edits from interesting people about clothing and memory. A book of Worn Stories will be published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2014. Spivack is the creator and writer of the Smithsonian’s blog about fashion history called Threaded. For six years, she was the Executive Director of Shop Well with You, a not-for-profit organization she founded which helps women with cancer improve their body-image and quality of life. Spivack has lectured at art schools and universities including New York University, Brown University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt, and Parsons. She serves on the board of Brown University’s Entrepreneurship Program and was an award recipient of Eileen Fisher’s Women Change the World Everyday campaign. Spivack graduated from Brown University with Honors with a degree in Art/Semiotics and was awarded the William and Alethe Weston Fine Arts Award.