Friday, May 7, 2010

American High Style: Part 1


Brooklyn Museum opened an exhibit celebrating their renowned costume collection called American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection, on view May 7 until August 1, 2010. It's a sister exhibit to this year's Costume Institute's show, American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 5 through August 15, 2010. The Brooklyn exhibition is a celebration of both their 23,500 objects, acquired over a hundred years of collecting and the partnership they've entered into with the Met to share the collection, while also having it remain available to the Brooklyn Museum for exhibition.

The Brooklyn exhibition includes 85 masterworks from the mid-19th century to the late 20th century, along with accessories and sketches, and includes works by Charles James, Charles Frederick Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Claire McCardell, Bonnie Cashin, Norman Norell, Elizabeth Hawes, the milliner Sally Victor, as well as pieces by Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, Lanvin and Halston.

Before the collection was transferred to the Met in January 2009, it was the subject of an intensive three-year assessment and photographic documentation, led by Jan Glier Reeder, the curator of the exhibit, along with ten team members. Ms. Reeder is also the author of the catalogue High Style: Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is broader in scope than both exhibits, a gorgeous book filled with color photographs and the history of the museum's costume collection.

I got to attend the Press Preview on Thursday, which was so fun and a great break from my stay-at-home mom routine. I also got to interview Ms. Reeder, who told me for this exhibit she narrowed the 23,500 objects in the collection down to 4,000 and from there pared it down to the 236 total objects on display, playing up the strengths of the collection while sharing the story of how the Brooklyn Museum came to be in possession of one of the finest costume collections in the world.

Come back to see me in a day or two because I am going to share this story with you and show you individual pieces from the exhibit, some my favorites, some pointed out to me as particularly noteworthy by Ms. Reeder.

Also, for anyone who wants my company at this exhibit, pick a date and let's go. I could see it at regular intervals all summer long.

While I work on the next post here is a picture from the opening of the exhibit, featuring works by Charles James (the red), Norman Norell (the gold) and Charles Frederick Worth (the striped).

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11238
718-638-5000
www.brooklynmuseum.org

Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10am to 5pm
1st Saturday of each month, 11am to 11pm
All other Saturdays, 11am to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 6pm

Admission: Contribution, $10
Students and Seniors 62+, with ID, $6
Children under 12, free

Strollers are permitted in this exhibit, as long as space permits

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