Charles James is probably not a name that is as instantly recognizable in fashion as Coco Chanel or Christian Dior, but as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion shows us, his work and legacy transcend the zeitgeist and ushers us back to a period of supreme, magnificent decadence in American fashion.
The Mike Kelley retrospective at MoMA PS1 is, in a word, large. One might expect as much, given that it is a retrospective, but this one is uniquely big: it marks the first time the entire museum has ever been given over to one artist.
Sailor stripes, corsets, and men’s skirts are not just the cheeky trademarks of a brilliant designer, but tools for a deeper excavation of culture.
LOS ANGELES — What do you get when you invite 1,500 people to make clay sculptures of whatever they want? An incredibly weird, crumbling, monotone wonderland. As part of his current retrospective, New York-based artist Urs Fischer organized this freewheeling project at the Geffen Contemporary MoCA in downtown Los Angeles, and titled, appropriately, “YES” (2013).
It’s inevitable not to compare the new show at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute to last year’s blockbuster, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, however unfair that might be. But it doesn’t matter, because Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, a pairing of two disparate designers that gives far too much precedence to the latter, falls flat, regardless of what preceded it.
What becomes a legend most? How are those cultural superstars chosen, the ones whose very names invoke awe, wonder, or at least a gasp? Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the comprehensive retrospective of the late designer’s ravishing raiment now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art certainly provides a clue. With an hour and a half wait to enter (on a good day), a de facto gala in his honor and almost unanimous praise from critics, the McQueen legend continues to thrive in the eerie, operatic halls of the exhibition space. He may have a spectacular artistic output, and he may have defined an era of rising fashion stars, but the question remains how his deification came to be, how he came to define 21st century fashion with a short, tragically romantic career.