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Arts and Culture

WTF? Beyonce and Anna Wintour Chair Punk Couture Exhibit

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Posted on Apr 30, 2013
Alice Bag (CC-BY)

It’s hard not to imagine a genuine punk rocker gagging a little bit on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition “PUNK: Chaos to Couture.”

As if the subject matter, while of interest to cultural studies majors, isn’t aggravating enough to pioneering musical subversives, throw in honorary chair Beyonce, and, because it wouldn’t be punk without them, corporate sponsors.

You’ve been co-opted, Sid and Nancy. Deal with it.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer. Follow him on Twitter: @peesch.

Press Release:

Gala Benefit May 6, 2013, with Co-Chairs Rooney Mara, Lauren Santo Domingo,
Riccardo Tisci, and Anna Wintour

Member Previews: May 7–8
Exhibition location: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall
Press preview: Monday, May 6, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

The spring 2013 exhibition organized by The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The exhibition, on view from May 9 through August 14, 2013 (preceded on May 6 by The Costume Institute Benefit), will examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the 1970s through its continuing influence today.

The exhibition is made possible by Moda Operandi.

Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.

“Punk’s signature mixing of references was fueled by artistic developments such as Dada and postmodernism,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “so it makes sense to present this exhibition in a museum that also shows the broader output of those movements. Indeed, that dialogue between art and fashion is what makes The Costume Institute so singular. Projects like this don’t happen without sponsorship, and we greatly appreciate the generosity of Moda Operandi, and its co-founders Aslaug Magnusdottir and Lauren Santo Domingo.”

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit will take place on Monday, May 6, 2013. Beyoncé will serve as Honorary Chair. Co-Chairs will be Academy Award© nominated actress Rooney Mara; Lauren Santo Domingo, Co-Founder of Moda Operandi; Riccardo Tisci, Creative Director of Givenchy; and Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. This fundraising event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

“Since its origins, punk has had an incendiary influence on fashion,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “Although punk’s democracy stands in opposition to fashion’s autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk’s aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness.”

Exhibition Overview
The exhibition, in the Museum’s second-floor Cantor galleries, will feature approximately 100 designs for men and women. Original punk garments from the mid-1970s will be juxtaposed with recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear have borrowed punk’s visual symbols, with paillettes being replaced with safety pins, feathers with razor blades, and bugle beads with studs. Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of ‘do-it-yourself’ and the couture concept of ‘made-to-measure,’ the exhibition will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.

Organized thematically, each of the seven galleries will have designated punk ‘heroes’ who embody the broader concepts behind the fashions on view. The first gallery will be devoted to CBGB in New York City, represented by Blondie, Richard Hell, The Ramones, and Patti Smith. Next will be a gallery inspired by Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood and their Seditionaries boutique at 430 King’s Road in London. The Clothes for Heroes gallery, embodied by Jordan, will examine designers who extend the visual language of punk, as it was originally articulated by McLaren and Westwood, by merging social realism with artistic expression.

Do-it-yourself, punk’s enduring contribution to high fashion, will be explored in the four final galleries: D.I.Y. Hardware, focusing on couture’s use of studs, spikes, chains, zippers, padlocks, safety pins, and razor blades, with Sid Vicious as its icon; D.I.Y. Bricolage, highlighting the impact of punk’s ethos of customization on high fashion, including the use of recycled materials from trash and consumer culture, as epitomized by Wayne County; D.I.Y. Graffiti and Agitprop, exploring punk’s tradition of provocation and confrontation through images and text exemplified by The Clash; and D.I.Y. Destroy, examining the effect of punk’s rip-it-to-shreds spirit, typified by Johnny Rotten, via torn and shredded garments associated with deconstructionism.

Designers in the exhibition will include Miguel Adrover, Thom Browne, Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Hussein Chalayan, Francisco Costa (Calvin Klein), Christophe Decarnin (Balmain), Ann Demeulemeester, Dior, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (Dolce and Gabbana), John Galliano, Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga), Katharine Hamnett, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (Viktor & Rolf), Christopher Kane, Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, Franco Moschino and Rossella Jardini (Moschino), Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Miuccia Prada, Gareth Pugh, Zandra Rhodes, Hedi Slimane (Saint Laurent), Stephen Sprouse, Jun Takahashi (Undercover), Joseph Thimister, Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Gianni Versace, Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto, and Vivienne Westwood.

The exhibition is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator, in the Met’s Costume Institute. Photographer Nick Knight is the exhibition’s creative consultant working with exhibition design consultant Sam Gainsbury (who was creative director for the Met’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition in 2011) and production designer Gideon Ponte (a set and production designer for photo shoots and feature films including Buffalo 66 and American Psycho). All mannequin head treatments and masks will be designed by Guido Palau, who also created treatments for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and last year’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.

The design for the 2013 Costume Institute gala benefit will be created by Nick Knight, Sam Gainsbury, and Gideon Ponte with Raul Avila, who has produced the benefit décor since 2007. Additional funding for the gala benefit will be provided by Givenchy.

A book, Punk: Chaos to Couture, by Andrew Bolton, with an introduction by Jon Savage, and prefaces by Richard Hell and John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), will accompany the exhibition. This publication will be illustrated with photographs of vintage punks and high fashion. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the $45 catalogue (hard cover only) will be distributed worldwide by Yale University Press.

The Museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org/punk will feature the exhibition. Follow us on Facebook.com/MetMuseum and Twitter.com/MetMuseum to join the conversation about the gala benefit. Use #PunkFashion and #Met Gala on Twitter.

###

April 10, 2013

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