V&A is set to lure in big visitor numbers with their Frida Kahlo exhibitions that includes fashion, art and objects belonging to the artist. Sustainability is on the agenda at Museum at FIT with Fashion Unraveled that looks at how mending, repurposing and deconstruction has been applied as a design approach. Print! Tearing It Up that focuses on independent magazines is a must-see for lovers of printed matter.
Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up at V&A
until November 4
This summer, the V&A will explore how Frida Kahlo (b. 1907), one of the most recognised and significant artists and women of the 20th century, fashioned her identity. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up will be the first exhibition outside of Mexico to display her clothes and intimate possessions, reuniting them with key self-portraits and photographs to offer a fresh perspective on her compelling life story. V&A will present an unparalleled insight into Kahlo’slife revealing some objects that have never been on show before.
Working in close collaboration with Museo Frida Kahlo, V&A will display more than 200objects from the Blue House. Kahlo’s personal items including outfits, letters, jewellery,cosmetics, medicines and medical corsets were discovered in 2004, 50 years after being sealed in the Blue House by her husband Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, following her death in 1954. Exploring Kahlo’s highly choreographed appearance and style, these include22 distinctive colourful Tehuana garments; pre-Columbian necklaces that Frida strung herself; examples of intricately hand painted corsets and prosthetics which will be displayed alongside film and photography of the artist as a visual narrative of her life.
Included in Kahlo’s make-up selection is her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, a defining feature of her self-portraits and her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish. Her vividly-coloured cosmetics are striking in the celebrated portraits by photographer Nickolas Muray which show her wearing many of the clothes on display.
Fashion Unraveled at The Museum at FIT (New York)
until November 17
Fashion Unraveled is not your typical fashion exhibition. Rather than feature pristine clothes that exemplify a theme, a time period, or a designer’s aesthetic, it explores the roles of memory and imperfection in fashion. The exhibition also highlights the aberrant beauty in flawed objects, giving precedence to garments that have been altered, left unfinished, or deconstructed. These selections underscore one elemental fact about clothing: that it is designed to be worn and has, in some cases, been worn out.
Traces of wear, shortened hemlines, and careful mends can be found even on haute couture designs. These alterations signify the lasting economic and emotional value of clothing and, in some cases, challenge the concept of fashion as a strictly ephemeral, disposable commodity. Unless such imperfections are intentional — as they are in deconstructed fashion — these garments are often overlooked within museum collections. If they are selected for exhibition, curators rely on the expert work of a conservator, a gallery’s low lighting, or strategic placement to cleverly obscure flaws. In recent years, however, as interest in the “biographies” of garments has grown, fashion historians have begun to reassess imperfect objects. Studies of specific items may reveal intriguing histories about their wearers and/or makers, poignant reminders of the deeply personal and physical relationships we have with our clothes.
Gelatin: Vorm – Fellows – Attitude at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
until August 12
Demanding curiosity, an open mind and active participation from the viewer, Gelatin’s humorous, infectiously enthusiastic, non-hierarchical and subversive works have an absurdity and directness that provoke and confront as they highlight and break down social conformity and taboo. Gelatin operates on the borders of painting, sculpture and rock music; of architecture and sport, performance and fashion; between staged event and spontaneous discussion, the collective constantly evades categorisation.
Exhibition curator Francesco Stocchi compares Gelatin to a bar of soap: “As soon as you think you have a grip on them, they slip away from you, leaving their essence in your hands”. The new sculptures – especially composed for Rotterdam – continue a long line of works and sculptural concepts that Gelatin has been playing with for more than two decades.
Print! Tearing It Up at The Somerset House (London)
until August 22
Print! Tearing It Up will be the first exhibition to trace the journey of independent voices in magazines and journals from their roots in the early 20th century to today’s contemporary titles. Contrary to the idea that print is dying, these freethinking publications reflect a wider independent culture, proving print is going from strength to strength in the digital era.
The exhibition chronicles the evolution of progressive print publications and celebrates the diverse subjects and social issues they tackle. From alternative views on lifestyle, leisure and architecture to addressing topical issues including diversity, gender, sexuality and media manipulation, the show champions the innovation and creativity of this growing industry, an ethos that aligns with Somerset House’s support of the creatives who form a large section of their on-site residents.
Focusing primarily on the contemporary industry of innovative independent magazines, the exhibition, curated by writer Paul Gorman (The Story of The Face, In Their Own Write: Adventures In The Music Press) and Somerset House’s Senior Curator Claire Catterall with graphic design by Scott King, will guide visitors through a hands-on approach to the fascinating processes behind independent publishing, from concept and design to print and distribution. From discerning displays laying bare the key titles, editors, designers and writers involved in a magazine’s inception and development, to the opportunity to flick through a range of chosen titles, visitors will be able to discover and understand the origins of a vast selection of specialist magazines with exciting, well-executed content.