Sunday, June 8, 2014

Critique of the Charles James exhibit at the Met

This spring, the Metropolitan Museum of Art presents an exhibit on renowned courier Charles James, on view until August 10. The exhibit boasts his extravagant gowns as well as many of his gorgeous, feminine coats. Well the actual pieces are astounding, sadly the exhibit fails to do James justice. For starters, it is set up in two different spaces which are at opposite ends of the museum. It took me ten minutes to get from one part of the exhibit to the other. The portion of the exhibit in the Egyptian wing is hidden and cramped, and both rooms are far too dark to properly see the detail of James's work. The exhibit also includes high-tech cameras that revolve around the pieces and enable viewers to see on a screen what the inner structure of each dress looks like. However, this technology only serves to distract from the beauty of his dresses and coats. Yet despite the poor set up of the exhibit, it is still worth visiting. James's carefully structured ball gown skirts, delicate seams, and luxurious fabrics are truly inspiring. While viewing the gowns, I could see elegant customers wearing them at stylish parties during the 1950s.

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