Monday, May 12, 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fashion. The Metropolitan Museum.

The big revelation for me after viewing this show of gowns and dresses is that I really don't give a shit about fashion. There I said it. The show is full of very nice dresses and I'm not taking anything away from Charles Jame's accomplishment as a designer for the rich and famous, but his sometimes funny looking and grotesque creations bored me. It didn't help that they are exhibited in two separate galleries (pretentiously called "The Costume Institute) one of which is in the basement (ok its downstairs, but it sure felt like a basement) and a cramped one at that and in a gallery on the first floor both of which are hikes to get to. I should be grateful I suppose that I didn't have to wait 4 hours to see it, but who knows this might happen for future visitors especially after Roberta Smith's ga ga review of the show in which she audaciously wrote " They are, in their own way as organic, forward-looking and self evident as a Brancusi sculpture, an Eero Saarian Tulip chair of a Pollock drip painting" Get a grip Roberta they're clothes for Christ's sake. And I suppose if one pushes it they can be seen as objects. They certainly are presented as objects in this way way over the top designed and dizzying exhibition. The actual design of the show really gave me problems and might account for me not jumping up and down with Roberta. It was way too dark,which made it very difficult for me to focus on the clothes, plus there are mirrors everywhere which are used to show the backs of the gowns when viewing them from the front and added to my spacial confusion. At times I was worried that I would walk into one of them, (the large amount of people in the cramped spaces didn't help either)  picture the final scene from The Lady From Shanghai and you might understand my discomfort.  Whatever happened to bright well lite spaces for viewing exhibitions? I was much more content just browsing the few wonderful nearly empty well lite galleries of Picasso's, Miro's, Klee's and other old favorites along with the nicely done Lucas Samaras show. The photos that I took were sneaked, but it was so dark that the fashionista guards didn't see me doing the forbidden picture taking so that was fun.


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