Before their assassination, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia Romanov led stilted lives. Existing within a family patriarchy and with the threat of a violent revolution, they had little control. Through the artifacts they left behind, a myth was built about their reliance upon each other. Their friendships are named after their self-given acronym, OTMA. The legend of the Grand Duchesses inspired Women’s History Museum, the moniker of Amanda McGowan and Mattie Rivkah Barringer, to create OTMA’s Body,
Living between the spaces of art and fashion, the show functions as a boutique. It contains all the aspects of a clothing store, from the clothing racks to the mannequins to the self-referential decor. With their collage aesthetic, Women’s History Museum augments those elements. Using methods similar to Lou Dallas and Ser Serpas, all of the objects are made from recycled materials found during McGowan and Barringer’s travels. With those found supplies McGowan created her pieces, and Barringer created hers. They collected their finished work and produced a cohesive product. Priced like designer department stores, the objects in the exhibition can be bought and then removed by the buyer. The purchase of the products from McGowan and Barringer’s collaborative process embodies the idea of OTMA. The designers end up working like the four sisters, each has a distinct personality but when brought together they become one body. A body taken apart by the public.