Enfilade

Exhibition | Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2018

Press release (9 March 2018) from The Met:

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Met Cloisters, New York, 10 May — 8 October 2018

Curated by Andrew Bolton, with C. Griffith Mann, Barbara Drake Boehm, Helen Evans, and Melanie Holcomb

The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, on view from May 10 through October 8, 2018 (preceded on May 7 by The Costume Institute Benefit) will be presented in two Metropolitan Museum of Art locations: at The Met Fifth Avenue—in the medieval galleries, Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art, part of The Robert Lehman Wing, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center—and uptown at The Met Cloisters. The thematic exhibition will feature a dialogue between fashion and masterworks of medieval art in The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. A group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican will travel to the United States to serve as the cornerstone of the exhibition, highlighting the enduring influence of liturgical vestments on designers.

“The Catholic imagination is rooted in and sustained by artistic practice, and fashion’s embrace of sacred images, objects, and customs continues the ever-evolving relationship between art and religion,” said Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met. “The Museum’s collection of Byzantine and western medieval art, in combination with the architecture and galleries that house these collections at The Met, provide the perfect context for these remarkable fashions.”

In celebration of the opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 7, 2018. The evening’s co-chairs will be Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Anna Wintour. Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman will serve as Honorary Chairs. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

“Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “Although this relationship has been complex and sometimes contested, it has produced some of the most inventive and innovative creations in the history of fashion.”

The exhibition will feature approximately 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. These will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries and will include papal vestments and accessories, such as rings and tiaras, from the 18th to the early 21st century, encompassing more than 15 papacies. The last time the Vatican sent a loan of this magnitude to The Met was in 1983, for The Vatican Collections exhibition, which is the Museum’s third most-visited show.

In addition, more than 150 ensembles, primarily womenswear, from the early 20th century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters alongside medieval art from The Met collection, providing an interpretative context for fashion’s engagement with Catholicism. The presentation situates these designs within the broader context of religious artistic production to analyze their connection to the historiography of material Christianity and their contribution to the construction of the Catholic imagination.

Designers in the exhibition will include A.F.Vandevorst, Azzedine Alaïa, Cristobal Balenciaga, Geoffrey Beene, Marc Bohan (for House of Dior), Thom Browne, Roberto Capucci, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Ann Demeulemeester, Sorelle Fontana, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (for Dolce & Gabbana), John Galliano (for House of Dior), Gattinoni, Jean Paul Gaultier, Craig Green, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Demna Gvasalia (for Balenciaga), Rosella Jardini (for Moschino), Stephen Jones, Christopher Kane, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld (for House of Chanel), Jeanne Lanvin, Shaun Leane, Claire McCardell, Mariuccia Mandelli (for Krizia), Laura and Kate Mulleavy (for Rodarte), Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Carli Pearson (for Cimone), Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (for Valentino), Pierpaolo Piccioli (for Valentino), Stefano Pilati (for Saint Laurent), Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Raf Simons (for his own label and House of Dior), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (for Viktor & Rolf), Olivier Theyskens, Josephus Thimister, Riccardo Tisci, Jun Takahashi (for Undercover), Philip Treacy, Donatella Versace (for Versace), Gianni Versace, Valentina, and Madeleine Vionnet.

The exhibition—a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters—is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, working together with colleagues in The Met’s Medieval department: C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters; Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters; Helen C. Evans, Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art; and Melanie Holcomb, Curator. The interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) will create the exhibition design with The Met’s Design Department. Raul Avila will produce the gala décor, which he has done since 2007.

A publication by Andrew Bolton will accompany the exhibition and will include texts by Barbara Drake Boehm, Marzia Cataldi Gallo, C. Griffith Mann, David Morgan, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, and David Tracy in addition to new images by Katerina Jebb. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Andrew Bolton, ed., Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 336 pages, ISBN: 978 1588396457, $65.

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