Happy National Button Day

New York artist Beau McCall is a committed button guy whose work “Button Vest: Caramel Crayons” (1991) is now in the permanent collection of the RISD Museum and on view now. McCall stopped by the museum this week to check out the exhibition proudly noting on IG, “This is the first I’ve seen one of my pieces outside the fashion industry.”

Beau began his career in Harlem in the 1980s, “arriving from Philadelphia with nothing more than $200 and a few buttons in his pocket as a reminder of his mother. By the 1990s, he was an established force within the Black Fashion Museum collective, presenting wearable art featuring buttons and upcycled denim.”

The museum celebrated his visit as well. I think I just missed him! Check out the back of the vest.

Beau’s thoughts on the meaning of buttons:

Buttons are a universal fastener connecting the world . . . I [translate] the visual language of buttons to expand art out of its traditional context, stimulate the imagination, and unbutton one’s inner thoughts surrounding themes from pop culture to social justice.

Thursday, November 16, (tonight) is the final Gallery Night of the season. No admission charged at the museum between 5pm to 8pm. Go check out the buttons.

RISD Museum, 20 North Main Street, (directions)


This is not the first time an artist’s buttons have been featured at the museum. In 2016, the Todd Oldham exhibition not only showcased his obsession with buttons, but gave away free samples.

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