Today I went downtown to the Art Institute to scope out the newest exhibit, “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity.”
So, this is what an exhibition looks like when it’s organized by three of the most prestigious museums in the world. It was literally all I could do– just stand there in awe. What a magnificent exhibition curated by the incredible Gloria Groom, who has been the curator of 19th Century French painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1984. The touring exhibition that has been viewed by MILLIONS was organized by the Musee d’Orsay in Paris (where it debuted), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago (the last stop on the tour).To really get an understanding of the creative process and inspiration that lead to the creation of this beautiful endeavor, you should read this great interview with Ms. Groom here.
I think the best way to see this show may be in the early morning, or midday during the week because the subject matter (Impressionist and Fashion) are big crown drivers. The only downside about my visit today is that there were SO MANY PEOPLE. It was a little like herding cattle. Moo.
The exhibition is divided into a whopping 10 galleries, each devoted to a different aspect of “La Parisienne”– the subject of the whole thing. La Parisienne was a stylish woman– a woman on the go. A woman who had her finger on the pulse of the hot trends of Paris in the 1860s. La Parisienne may have been an upper class woman or a cocette (prostitute), but nevertheless this type of woman was important.
“I’ve tried to make this exhibition as accessible as possible while offering new ways of thinking about icons of art history. The rooms will focus on the great tradition of portraiture, intimate scenes, seeing and being seen (at the opera, theater, on the street), under-fashion, the “Men’s Club” (of course we’ll have male fashion!) and, finally, changing silhouettes and the apogee of the bustle.” – Gloria Groom, on the exhibition design.
There are some curatorial decisions made that completely blew my mind and that I HAVE NEVER SEEN done before. Just remarkable. All the senses are involved in the experience. I wish photography was allowed. It was just perfect.
Seriously, I cannot recommend this exhibit more. It is up until September 22nd, so please go if you are able. For more information about visiting the Art Institute or the exhibit, please click here.
Also, an exhibit going on in conjunction with “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” is called “Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy”, which is also an incredible study on the taking off of clothing. Check that out while you are at AIC as well… but also, check it out here.