Tuesday, September 1, 2015

China: Through the Looking Glass at The Met,
Part 1 -- The People's Republic

The fantastic exhibition "China Through the Looking Glass" at The Metropolitan Museum in NYC closes on September 7th. I saw it when I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to work out how to present my findings. It's a very impressive array of fashion, art, and Chinese artifacts, scattered through multiple levels and galleries of the museum, including the Egyptian Galleries, the Chinese Galleries, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It is a multi-media extravaganza with garments (couture, costumes, and antique Chinese), thematically related art pieces from the Met's vast collection, and movie clips curated by director Wong Kar Wei.

One is lead to the portal tucked away amidst the Egyptian Galleries (Gallery #132, very hard to find).
This first section references the era of The People's Republic of China.
Inspired by Mao left to right:
Vivienne Tam, Dress, spring/summer 1995, Polychrome printed nylon mesh
Any Warhol, [12 versions] Mao, Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, each 12 x 10", 1973 [?]
Vivienne Tam, "Mao Suit", spring/summer 1995, silk jacquard
Unidentified Artist (Chinese, active 1960s), retouched by Chen Shilin, Chairman Mao, Gelatin silver print, 12 x 9.75", 1964
My blurry photos don't do these garments justice --
at that point I didn't realize the "no photography" edict was not being enforced.
Vivienne Westwood, Ensemble, spring/summer 2012, cotton poplin
John Galliano for Dior, Ensemble, spring/summer 1999
 Jacket: silk shantung with red piping and gold metallic frogging, Skirt: silk jacquard
After this gallery, one is then lead to the lower level Anna Wintour Costume Center.
Once there, I pulled out my sketchbook, to help examine garment silhouette and construction.
I took photos as well, though I have found that sketching really helps one focus on what one is observing when it comes to garments. I guess it's the great training that I had at Otis, where Jack Handford, our History of Fashion instructor, insisted that we sketch during his slide presentations.

Tomorrow, I'll feature the Quipao Inspired section of the exhibition, both with my sketches and photos.

Note: I relied on the exhibition catalogue China: Through the Looking Glass and The Met's website for information, especially the details on the art and garments. Selected Images from the catalogue can be viewed on The Met's Pinterest board.