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The DMA Will Offer Its Very First Kinky Fashion Show


by Jerome Weeks 12 Nov 2010

There’ll be a lot of gay sailors and upscale trashy-looking women at the DMA next fall. More than usual. We mean the mannequins, of course. What were YOU thinking? The Dallas Museum of Art will present the US premiere of an exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashions (including, yes, a section devoted to “Eurotrash/X-Rated”).

CTA TBD

For its very first retrospective devoted to a major clothing designer, the Dallas Museum of Art will present the US debut of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk — making certain to draw a more-than-usual number of women interested in bondage wear, slit-to-the-navel evening gowns and see-through blouses.  Opening Nov. 13 next year at the DMA, the tour will begin at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in June. The exhibition will then travel to San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museum for its final stop in March 2012.

Actually, as much as Jean Paul Gaultier may be known (notorious?) for his gender-bending, trash-and-flash, kink-and-couture aesthetic (try to keep Madonna’s missile-cone bra out of your head — aha, you can’t), he’s also a master tailor (his work often displays superb and daring craftsmanship). He’s also a frequent collaborator with such major and unconventional artists as film directors Peter Greenaway (Prospero’s Books), Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) and Pedro Amodovar (Volver), not to mention choreographer Maurice Bejart and, well, Madonna, whom we’ve already mentioned but bring up here so Lady Gaga won’t feel slighted as an afterthought.

So there — with all this going on, a big-time museum exhibition does not seem entirely an attention-getting walk on the wild slide into pop-commercial excess. Besides, a majority of the pieces have never been exhibited before, and the show will include sketches, stage costumes and film clips from movies, concerts and dance performances.

The full press release follows.

First International Retrospective Devoted to Fashion Designer Jean Paul Gaultier to Make U.S. Premiere in Dallas November 2011

Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk Brings Insight into Gaultier’s Oeuvre And Marks First Time Dallas Museum Explores Art of Fashion

Dallas, November 12, 2010 – The first retrospective devoted to the designs of world-renowned French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier will make its U.S. debut at the Dallas Museum of Art in November 2011. Marking the first time that the DMA will present an exhibition dedicated to exploring the art of fashion, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk will provide an unprecedented look at the designer dubbed fashion’s “enfant terrible” from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s and who has become one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the maison Jean Paul Gaultier, the exhibition will premiere in Montreal on June 15, 2011, and will be on view at the Dallas Museum of Art from November 13, 2011, through February 12, 2012, before traveling to its final stop in the U.S. at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young, in March 2012.

“Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture fashions are bold and unapologetic, and intuitively reflect the cultural moods of a global society. His designs inspire, influence, and bring the very essence of imagination to life,” said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier marks the first time the DMA will present an exhibition that explores the art of fashion and we are thrilled to be the first U.S. institution to exhibit the first retrospective on the work of one of the most influential designers of our time.”

“I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity,” explained Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Beyond the technical virtuosity, an unbridled imagination and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, Gaultier offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, and sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity through a unique ‘fusion couture.’”

The exhibition—organized along five different thematic sections, including “Jean Paul Gaultier’s Paris,” “Fusions,” “Multi-Gender,” “Eurotrash/ X-Rated,” and “Metropolis”—will feature approximately 120 ensembles from the designer’s couture collections, as well as from his prêt-à-porter line, along with their accessories. Created between 1976 and 2010, the majority of these pieces have never been exhibited. Sketches, stage costumes, and excerpts from films, runway shows, concerts, dance performances and televised interviews will all provide a look at the couturier’s world and will explore how his avant-garde fashions challenged societal and aesthetic codes in unexpected, and often humorous, ways. Photography will also be a major focus of attention, thanks to loans of, in many cases, never-before-seen prints from renowned contemporary photographers and artists.

A substantial portion of the exhibition will also be devoted to the artistic collaborations that have characterized the world of Gaultier, including filmmakers (Peter Greenaway, Luc Besson, Caro and Jeunet, and Pedro Almodóvar) and contemporary choreographers (Maurice Béjart, Angelin Preljocaj and Régine Chopinot), not to mention the world of popular music, in both its French incarnations (Yvette Horner, Les Rita Mitsouko and Mylène Farmer) and international (Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga).

Exhibition Organization and Tour

Under the leadership of Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot of the Musuem, with the assistance of fashion historian Florence Müller, Guest Curator. Mannequin design, production and staging for the exhibition were developed by the Museum with Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of the Montreal theatre company UBU. The coordinating curator of the Dallas presentation is Kevin W. Tucker, The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art

The exhibition tour will include:

  • the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (June 15, 2011–October 2, 2011),
  • the Dallas Museum of Art (November 13, 2011–February 12, 2012), and
  • the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (March 24, 2012–August 19, 2012).

Exhibition Catalogue

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will publish, in French and in English, a major monograph on the occasion of this exhibition. Featuring nearly 500 illustrations and photographs, the 424-page catalogue will include interviews with Gaultier’s colleagues, mentors and muses, as well as the artists he has worked with— among them Pedro Almodóvar, Catherine Deneuve, Farida Khelfa, Madonna, Martin Margiela, Pierre Cardin and Dita Von Teese—and will feature many previously unpublished illustrations from the maison Gaultier archives and other sources. It will include an essay written by Suzy Menkes, journalist at The New York Times and fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, and two interviews with the designer himself, in addition to an interview with Valerie Steele, fashion historian and director of New York’s The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), as well as a timeline of Gaultier’s career and a complete bibliography.

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