Tonight is Museum Mile festival (14 June 2011)
I was totally blown away by Alexandra McQueen's: Savage beauty special exhibition at the MET!
Arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) at 5.45pm, we plan to arrive early to beat the anticipated crowd of over 50000 festival attendees every year!
By 6pm, we can see crowd start sauntering along the traffic-free, music- and art-filled fiesta from 105th Street down to 82nd Street.
Good thing we headed straight to Alexandra McQueen's: Savage beauty special exhibition. There was an hour long wait to get in, with a line threading through the 19th century galleries. We were the 1st few in the line. The audience was diverse in age and nationality, thought there was a predictable tendency to euro-chic-ness. I don’t think one person in 100 looked at the rodins or anything else in the galleries the line passed through. All have only one thing in mind to see, of course! No photos are allowed in the exhibition.
It was a dark and stormy exhibition, with generous representations of sadomasochism, leather, chains, particularly at the beginning, and very very low light levels. Dramatic music emanating from hidden speakers.
I was immediately mesmerised by the 1st piece of McQueen's red avant-garde that greet my eyes. Simply beautiful, bold.
As i step further into the exhibition, I found myself immersed in the strange beauty of McQueen’s designs. His materials are completely distinctive ranging from tight leather bodices shaped to the form of the wearer like armor; to beautiful razor clam shells and abalone; to delicately carved wood; feathers (including an amazing dress of pheasant feathers with thousands of “eyes;”) all kinds of lacy, light, frothy, swirly stuff that I couldn’t begin to identify.
“I try to push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking of how we look. What I do is look at ancient African tribes, and the way they dress. The rituals of how they dress. . . . There’s a lot of tribalism in the collections.” —Alexander McQueen
The exhibition design was dramatic and in some ways quite intrusive, in a good way. The design heightened the drama and focus on the objects. The designers used pretty much every non-digital trick in the book. Gorgeous projections lent a very potent atmosphere to the exhibition, videos of some of McQueen’s runway shows were discreetly placed around the opening galleries.
My favourite was his Romantic Gothic creations and Cabinet of Curiosities, where he display hats and heels of the weirdest shape.
“People find my things sometimes aggressive. But I don’t see it as aggressive. I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality.”—Alexander McQueen
“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.” —Alexander McQueen
I walk out of the exhibition thinking and marveled at his ability to create so freely and pushing of the boundaries at everything he create. The fact that it exists in the commercial context, in this case of fashion, puts it in the good company of much of what is shown in an encyclopedic museum like the Met.
I find myself thinking of the dresses in this exhibition and wanting to now more about McQueen. Did some reading of who is this genius, and indeed the world miss him....There is a good website video that walk thru the whole exhibition exactly like i did, http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/video/, under exhibition video.