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10 posts tagged "The Metropolitan Museum of Art"

The Met Does “Icon” Some Justice

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Andrew Bolton“Icon” is one of the most overused words in the fashion lexicon—in fact, it’s thrown around with such carelessness that one has to wonder if it still holds any meaning. This past Saturday, the Met attempted to restore some of the word’s significance with its all-day series TEDxMet: Icons. Through talks by choreographer Bill T. Jones, neuropsychiatrist Dr. Eric R. Kandel (who explained our often amorous relationship with art through science), and the Met’s medieval art curator Melanie Holcomb, the event—which, held in connection with the globally recognized TED organization, is the first TEDx talk ever to be hosted in a museum—aimed to both explore and challenge our understanding of icons. Curator Luke Syson explained he thought the Mona Lisa was the most iconic work of art in history—until he developed a love/hate relationship with a pair of pink, handcrafted seventeenth-century French elephant vases by Jean-Claude Duplessis. Later, Negin Farsad—a Muslim American comedian—did a thoroughly hysterical bit dubbed “I Used to Be Black: Notes From an Icon-Less American,” about her coming-of-age identity crisis and her difficulty in finding an Iranian American role model (“join me,” she pleaded, “and let’s bang out some new icons!”). And architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff explored how Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum building (which the Met is taking over when the Whitney moves downtown in 2015) could transform from a hated Bauhaus structure to a beloved landmark worth saving.

Unsurprisingly, however, this journalist was most excited about Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton’s discussion of his 2011 Alexander McQueen exhibition Savage Beauty. The show attracted 661,509 visitors during its seventy-seven-day run, but Bolton noted that neither he, nor the Met, had expected it to be such a success. “You need only look at how we handled the lines to see that,” he laughed. And while McQueen’s suicide played a somewhat macabre role, Bolton stressed that it was the “beauty and power of McQueen’s fashions” that made Savage Beauty the most popular fashion exhibition in the Met’s history.

Before his talk, which was punctuated by screens covered in images of Savage Beauty‘s installations and McQueen’s most memorable runways, came to a close, Bolton joked that he had asked those closest to McQueen—including Sarah Burton—whether the late designer would have approved of the exhibition. Apparently, everyone offered the same response. “He would have loved having his name above the museum, but would have been furious that fewer people had come to see his show than King Tut.” Before stepping off stage, Bolton added, that, after one of his last shows, McQueen remarked, “There is no way back for me now. I’m going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.” “This,” said Bolton,”was his legacy. And this is what it means to be an icon.” We have to agree that McQueen embodies the word—in its truest sense.

Photo: Stephanie Berger

The Met To Remember Charles James

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Charles JamesFollowing this year’s much-talked-about exhibition, Punk: Chaos to Couture, the Met announced today that the next subject in line at the Costume Institute will be twentieth-century couturier Charles James. While it mightn’t exactly pack the pop-culture punch that punk did this year, Charles James: Beyond Fashion will show off the work of a less-remembered designer who is still regarded as a genius by those in the know. Curated by Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder, the exhibition will give visitors the chance to see the innovations James made within haute couture up close, from wrap-over trousers to spiral-cut dresses. But it’s James’ iconic ball gowns from the thirties through to the fifties that will take center stage. Drawn from an archive acquired in part from the Brooklyn Museum in 2009, and lovingly restored by the Met, these technically astounding dresses might be enough to make Charles James a household name once more. The extensive collection—the most comprehensive of any designer at any museum in the world—will be showcased in a newly renovated Costume Institute making its debut at the annual gala in May 2014. Mark the date in your diaries now. We can’t wait to see how fashion’s celebrities interpret this one.

Photo: Photo: Cecil Beaton

Punk’s Not Dead?

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Punk: Chaos to Couture

According to a tweet from The New York Times‘ Eric Wilson, the Met’s Punk: Chaos to Couture racked up a total of 442,350 visitors before closing on August 14, making it the fifth most popular Costume Institute exhibition in the past twenty-five years (the other four being Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, and Chanel—in that order). Considering several critics gave the show less-than-glowing reviews, it looks like Punk has boisterously proved ’em all wrong, yet again.

Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Impressionists: The Street-Style Photographers of the Past

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“The latest fashion…is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most.” Edouard Manet said that in 1881. And his sentiment is at the core of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest fashion-centric exhibition, Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, which runs from February 26 through May 27 in the Tisch Galleries. Curated by Susan Alyson Stein, the exhibit presents a look at the role of fashion in works of the Impressionists, such as Manet, Monet, Tissot, and Renoir. About eighty major figure paintings—showcased alongside period costumes, accessories, photographs, and prints—highlight the relationship between fashion and art from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. The exhibit comprises eight galleries, each organized thematically. One gallery is devoted to outdoor scenes of leisure, in which women wore cotton piqué dresses adorned with scrollwork embroidery, while another focuses on the white dress, as exemplified by Renoir’s masterpiece Lise, in which he captures his nineteen-year-old mistress charmingly dressed for the country. Black silk gowns are also a focal point of the time period (when are they not?), as seen in Manet’s famous The Lady with Fans (above), and even menswear and accessories have their place in Impressionism.

“This gallery and the seven that follow offer a unique opportunity to consider the parallels of style in art and fashion that evolved over a twenty-year period as they came of age. But the show is timely and topical in terms of the conflation of high art and fashion,” said Stein during a preview yesterday. “Like the street photographers of today, [the Impressionists] were artists who wished to capture the look of the moment.”

Fendi’s New Designer Drive, Miuccia Prada And Elsa Schiaparelli Could Be The Next Met Stars, And More…

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Now you can have your Fendi and drive it, too. As part of The Whispered Italian Grand Tour, a new Fendi project that includes a documentary about Italy’s craftsmen, the luxury brand created a special-edition Maserati. The designer car will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. [Vogue U.K.]

After the Met’s record-breaking Alexander McQueen exhibit, the Costume Institute has another fashion-focused show set to follow, WWD reports. Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli could be the next subjects under the museum’s spotlight. [WWD]

Dasha Zhukova’s new magazine, Garage, caused a stir this week with its controversial crotch shot cover. The cover model, Shauna Taylor, says, “I would have been stupid not to be part of this project. Not one single person can ever say they gave birth through a Damien Hirst piece of art. I can [if I ever give birth].” [Page Six]

To celebrate the 40-year anniversary of Alice Waters’ famed Chez Panisse, the restaurant and Levi’s partnered with writers and artists like David Byrne, Sofia Coppola, and Dave Eggers to create a series of limited-edition T-shirts. Of course, the shirts are 100 percent organic cotton with “plantable letterpressed hang-tags.” [The Food Section]

Photo: John Phillips/ Time Life Pictures / Getty Images