Saturday, March 12, 2011

I haven't posted in a long time, since working three part-time jobs has seemed to leave me little time for writing-- OR for visiting exhibits! Today I wanted to make note of one at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that I really wish I could see! It will be closing in a couple of weeks and is on the opposite coast from me, so that's unlikely, but luckily they have a pretty good website here. It's called "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915." While I'm not crazy about the title, the show itself should be interesting; it is displaying much of a large, recent acquisition and seems to be a sort of "survey" exhibit, without any specific narrative besides the evolution of European dress from the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. I find that fashion exhibits surrounding themes or ideas tend to be most compelling, but as long as the show is well-put-together it can be fun to just bask in a variety of fabulous pieces.

It seems as though this collection ranges from court dress to early haute couture to children's clothing, so it probably includes objects that are important for different reasons (craftsmanship, design quality, textile quality, historical significance, etc.). The key with a show like this is for it to be thoughtfully organized and for the didactics to clearly lead the visitor through each section so that it does not become disjointed. I have faith in LACMA-- they have a great collection and celebrated curators (Sharon Takeda and Kaye Spilker), so it is probably a wonderful exhibition.

Speaking of the curators, there is a great little interview with them here that shows what they do and how they put together an exhibit. They have my dream job! It is making me terribly nostalgic for my time at the Museum at FIT. I also like that the videos show the conservators and mannequin dressers, who are truly crucial to the exhibition and who often go overlooked.

Finally, here is a link to the cute children's game that accompanies the exhibit online. What a great idea!

Have any of you seen the exhibit? What did you think of the video? The children's game?
Tune in before too long when I report back from the Virginia Association of Museums' Annual Conference!

Image, "Mlle. Madeleine Dolley modeling a pale gray ornately embroidered and beaded (with gold) robe du bal, or ball gown made of salome silk designed by Paquin, photographed by Bert, from French periodical Les Modes," 1909, Life magazine.
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