Monday, August 30, 2010

Costumes from Death in Venice by The Canadian Opera Company

The fall schedule of the Canadian Opera Company features a production of Death in Venice with period costumes designed by Richard Hudson.

Death in Venice is an opera based on German author Thomas Mann's novella. Mann was inspired by the true story of Goethe's love for 18-year-old Ulrike von Levetzow and wrote a fictional story about Gustav von Aschenbach, a famous author in his mid-fifties travels to Venice and encounters lost luggage, disease, longing, lust, confusion and degradation.

The Canadian Opera Company's production originally premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in 2007 and was Benjamin Britten's last opera. The opera will be sung in English and tickets are available now at the COC website or box office.

Note: All images were provided courtesy of Canadian Opera Company. Designs are the copyright of Richard Hudson 2007.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Costumes on Stage

Feast your eyes on another beautiful costume design from Martha Mann, created for Opera Atelier's 2010 production of The Marriage of Figaro.  Created by Mozart and first performed in 1786, the opera features two female characters, The Countess Rosina and her maid Susanna, in a single day of madness in the Spanish court.

This lovely gown is for Susanna, the maid. Consider the lovely colour harmony in the choice of complementary coloured fabrics with peach tones for the Countess (see yesterday's post) and the lovely pale blue tones for Susanna.

Martha Mann will be speaking at Costumes on Stage event at the Royal Ontario Museum on Saturday, September 25, 2010 along with Marshall Pynkowski of Opera Atelier and Rita Brown of the Shaw Festival. Tickets are now available on the ROM website under events for September 25, 2010.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Costumes on Stage continued

Having had the privilege of photographing the costumes designed by Martha Mann for Opera Atelier's production of The Marriage of Figaro, I can attest to their exquisite beauty. The details of the gown for the Countess are simply breathtaking. I offer you my proof below in these photos. 

If you'd like to hear Martha Mann speak about the process of translating the director's vision into a design sketch, come to the ROM's panel discussion called Costumes on Stage on September 25, 2010. Tickets are available now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Costumes on Stage

Opera Atelier Costume for the Countess, Marriage of Figaro
Design by Martha Mann
Photo by Ingrid Mida, copyright 2010

Have you ever wondered how a costume comes into being? How does a director express his vision, how does the designer interpret that into a sketch and how does the cutter translate the sketch into a garment? These are the questions that a panel of three distinguished speakers will address at the ROM's Costumes on Stage event on Saturday, September 25, 2010

Opera Atelier's co-founder and co-director Marshall Pynkowski will lead off the event in a discussion with Textiles and Costume curator Dr. Alexandra Palmer about the process of conceiving a vision for a production. Then dancers from the Opera Atelier will demonstrate costumes in motion with a performance on stage.

Martha Mann, Marshall Pynkowski and Rita Brown
Photo by Ingrid Mida, copyright 2010
Following a break, award winning costume designer Martha Mann will talk about the process of interpreting the the director's vision to create a costume sketch. And then Rita Brown, costumer/cutter for the Shaw Festival, will talk about the process of creating a garment from a sketch.  

This event, hosted by the Friends of the Textile and Costume at the Royal Ontario Museum,    is an absolute must for afficiandos of the opera, ballet or theatre, as well as students of fashion design, art history or theatre programs. Tickets are available now. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The 8th Annual and Original Square Foot Show Opens in Toronto!

Masquerade I, Mixed Media 12x12 
by Ingrid Mida 2009

AWOL Gallery's 8th annual Square Foot Show opens today in Toronto. All works are 12x12 and sell for $225, even though many of the artists at the show sell works of this size for much more than that! It is an art lover's paradise as their are hundreds of works to chose from, stacked from floor to ceiling at 100A Ossington Avenue, 2nd floor. 

The work shown above is one of three that I submitted to the show. When I dropped off my pieces, the gallerina told me that she remembered my work from last year because one of my works was sold to a man from Italy. He wasn't going to be in town at the end of the show and had to take it with him right then and there. I love the idea of my work hanging in Italy. I envision it in a beautiful villa in the rolling hills of Tuscany, perhaps in a lady's dressing room, near an ornate gilded mirror.....

Square Foot Show
August 21st - September 5, 2010
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 12-8 pm, Sundays 12-5 pm
100A Ossington Avenue, 2nd Floor, Toronto

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rogue Embroidery by David R. Harper

Close-up of Embroidery on Her by David R. Harper

It is a rare thing to encounter an artist that takes a traditional medium and refashions it into something never seen before. David R. Harper is such an artist. By applying traditional embroidery techniques to animal hides, he creates portraits of women and men and gives the viewer pause to question the relationship between the hunter and the hunter as well as our innate desire to bring nature into our man-made environments.

Her by David R. Harper

David R. Harper was born in Toronto in 1984 and studied sculpture at the the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. It wasn't until after he graduated that he took up embroidery in 2006. Inspired by the devotional pieces of embroidery that he had seen in the Middle East, he wanted to take embroidery beyond ornamentation and create works that shock and awe the viewer. Mostly self-taught, he considers embroidery "one of the most versatile ways to make art" and describes the fibre arts as existing "between sculpture and painting".

Using sustainable sources of animal hides, Harper uses hides to differentiate his embroidery from others. And that is why rogue embroidery is such an apt descriptor of this extraordinary work. His first embroideries were of the skeletal structures of the animal from which the hide came from (which can be seen on his website). His mother owns one of his first of this series of works, while others are in public and private collections.

Gathering by David R. Harper

Some of David's works incorporate techniques of taxidermy which he taught himself as an undergrad student. He describes taxidermy as a "form of doll-making" which describes the "collision between the natural and artificial worlds" and as representational of the "loss of the natural world". In the words of curator Sarah Quinton, these hybrid sculptures are "precious reminders of the contrasting ideals of co-existence and dominance between human and non-human animals."

Last to Win by David R. Harper

When I first saw David's work, the embroidery stitches were so dense that I assumed he must have had some machine assistance. However, in talking with David, he assured me that each stitch was done by hand and most of his pieces take about three months to complete, stitching 8-10 hours a day. Most stitches are done with the back-stitch but he also uses a unique sequence of running stitches to create a beautiful and subtle form of shading.

Close-up of Embroidery on Last to Win

At present, David is living in Chicago, where he is completing his masters degree in fibre arts at the Art Institute. He also has two shows opening in Chicago in the fall.

David R. Harper's work "Skin and Bones", which is part of the exhibition Person, Place, Thing at the Textile Museum of Canada, will be on display until October 17, 2010. To see more of his work, please visit his website here.

Photo credits: All photos by Ingrid Mida, copyright 2010, taken with permission of the artist at the Textile Museum of Canada.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

What it is about:
The Tenth Gift is about two women separated by 400 years in history who are both passionate about embroidery. The lives of Julia Lovatt and Catherine Anne Tregenna, otherwise known as Cat, intersect through a book of exquisite seventeenth-century embroidery patterns. Julia receives this rare book as a gift when her lover ends their affair. In the margins of the book are Cat's diary entries which describe the capture of an entire Cornwall church parish by Muslim pirates who embark on a voyage to Morocco to auction them off as slaves. Julia becomes enchanted with Cat's story, embarks on a voyage to authenticate it and is pursued by her ex, who wants the book back.

Why I Chose this book:
I was drawn to this book because of the reference to embroidery. What caught me by surprise was an aspect of England's history that I had not read about before - the Barbary corsair raids on the south coasts of England which involved violent theft of cargoes and crews and the sale of captives into slavery. I generally avoid books that include violence or brutality but I could not stop reading. I had to find out whether Cat survived and how her book of embroidery patterns made its way back home to England.

Favourite Passage:
"She had gone to sleep pondering the altar cloth, its theme, its design, the materials she would use, and a strange alchemy appeared to have taken place during the night, drawing desire and inspiration together into visual form. The vision shimmered in her head, but could she capture that form and set it down before it escaped her! Her whole future might depend on her ability to do so, and the thought of that set her hand to trembling.
She took a deep breath, firmed her resolve, and swept the writing stick in a light, curving line from top to bottom of the page. The first mark on the virgin surface broke the spell, and suddenly she was free. The outline of the tree's trunk was quickly achieved, her hand moving swiftly and decisively, marking in a branch here and there, twinning in graceful counterpoint to one another; a flourish of leaves, a spray of berries, buds, flowers. The design unfurled itself like a young bracken front -- elegant, curvilinear, iconic -- its symmetries both powerful and reassuring. From a base of twisted roots out of which peered tiny creatures -- a hare, a frog, a nail -- the Tree of Knowledge stretched heavenward. Adam stood on one side, Eve on the other; the apple hung above them. In the branches above Eve's head, the serpent writhed and smiled." (page 39)

Who will Like this book:
This book will appeal to historical fiction fans, especially those interested in learning about the Sallee Rovers' raids on England in 1625. And of course, anyone who embroiders will be drawn into the tale too. However, there is a degree of violence and brutality in this book which might repel some. I wondered several times why I was reading a book involving adultery, suicide, and violence but the book's fast pace and compelling story kept my eyes glued to its pages.

Title: The Tenth Gift
Author: Jane Johnson
Publisher: Random House 2008, Anchor Canada 2009
Category: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 385 (392 including reading guide)
Price: Canada $19.95 Paperback

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Homage to The Bell Jar

The Choices
Mixed Media (Japanese Paper, Mylar, Ink) 5x5 framed in shadow box
Copyright of Ingrid Mida 2010

"I had locked myself in the bathroom, and run a tub full of warm water, and taken out a Gillette blade.

When they asked some old Roman philosopher or other how he wanted to die, he said he would open his veins in a warm bath. I thought it would be easy, lying in the tub and seeing the redness flower from my wrists, flush after flush through the clear water, till I sank to sleep under a surface as gaudy as poppies.

But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defencless that I couldn't do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn't in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get at." 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, page 142

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interview with Author Lucy Worsley

Photo of Lucy Worsley, Copyright of Stuart Clarke

It was in her role as chief curator of the Royal Historic Palaces that Lucy Worsely came upon the subject matter for her book The Courtiers, Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace.  Lucy has a Phd in art history from the University of Sussex and had several other positions in museums before taking up her coveted role at the Royal Historic Palaces. She is married to an architect and lives in a minimalist apartment in London. Her keen wit and dry sense of humour are evident in all that I've read by or about her. And she has that rare gift of charm to make you feel like you are the only person in the room, which came through in spades during our interview.

Ingrid: In your work as curator of the Royal Historic Palaces, you must have access to reams of archived documents and artifacts about the British monarchy. Why did you chose to focus on this particular period of history? How did you begin such a monumental work when so little was known about the characters in Kent's painting?

Lucy: This painting by William Kent you mention is on the King’s Grand Staircase at Kensington Palace.   It’s crammed with portraits of forty-five different servants at the court of George I.  Simple curiosity drew me into its story: I was always walking up and down the stairs going about my business during my working day, and I often found myself wondering who all the characters were.  When I asked my colleagues, I discovered that they all had their own rival identifications for each figure, so I naively decided that one day I would invest an afternoon in pinning down who was who, using the various guidebooks to the palace (which date right back to the eighteenth century).  It ended up taking me four years!

Ingrid: How many years did it take you to complete this book? And assuming your curatorial duties are full-time, how did you find the time to write it?

Lucy: I had my Eureka moment ('hum, I think I'll write a book about this') in the autumn of 2006, and finished writing in the autumn of 2010.  I do my writing at two particular times.  I spend 72 minutes a day on the train when I go to my office at Hampton Court, so out comes the computer.  And I’m in the British Library every Saturday.  I studied for my PhD part-time, and anyone else who’s done that knows what I mean when I say it requires dedication.  I’ve just maintained that work ethic.  On the other hand, doing research is a real pleasure to me, so I don’t feel that it’s a sacrifice. 

Ingrid: What was the most surprising thing that you learned during your research?

Lucy: One of the things that most surprised me was the sad story of Peter the Wild Boy.  He was a feral child found in the woods near Hanover who was brought to court as a kind of pet.  He was probably autistic, and never learned to speak.  I was astonished to discover that he became something of a Georgian celebrity, lived into his eighties and retired to the countryside. I was very moved when I tracked down and held in my hands his iron collar with his name on it, and when I visited his grave in Berkhamsted (marked ‘Peter The Wild Boy 1785’).

Ingrid: Which character/courtier in the book was your favourite and why?

Lucy: Hum, I’m torn. I really like Henrietta Howard, who was George II’s lover for more than 20 years but very unlike the rapacious, va-va-voom stereotype of a royal mistress.   She was thoughtful and intelligent, and put up with the rules and restrictions of court life for so long because there at least she was safe from her violent alcoholic husband.  I also like Molly Lepell, one of the Maids of Honour, who had a very tart sense of humour but found court life empty and depressing.  She had the good sense to run away from the court, leaving behind all the glamour to live her own life. 

Ingrid: If you could interview any of the princesses or queens that ever lived in Kensington Palace, who would it be and why?

Lucy: I would really love to have talked to Queen Caroline, the funniest, cleverest, warmest (and fattest!) queen consort we’ve ever had.  I think she’s been unfairly neglected, partly because of her German background, which is hard for British people to get to grips with, and partly because her handwriting was so awful it’s really hard to read her letters.  (Her husband said she wrote ‘like a cat’).

Ingrid: I understand that you are involved in the ongoing restoration of the palace. With the recent Enchanted Palace exhibition, it seemed  that Kensington Palace had taken an enormous leap into the modern era. It no longer was the realm of the old and musty but was a contemporary approach to art installation. Was this your doing? Where will the display of Princess Margaret's and Princess Diana's dresses be located within the renovated palace? How will it be different than the "tired" displays of the past?

Lucy: Yes, I’m very proud to say that I was part of the Enchanted Palace team.  We worked with contemporary fashion designers and a theatre company to create a weird world in the state apartments – exhibition isn’t quite the word for it, it’s a mixture of installation and performance - and it’s brought in quite a new crowd who would never have come to see the rooms with the old, more strictly historical presentation. 

When we’ve finally finished our current huge re-presentation project covering the whole palace, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret will probably end up in Princess Margaret’s former apartment.  The nature of the new displays is work in progress!  Just this week we were talking about what we might take from Enchanted Palace to apply to the next lot of displays.

Ingrid: Is there any chance the Rockingham Mantua ever come on display after the renovation is complete?

Lucy: I’m sure the Rockingham Mantua - this is the fabulous silver dress worn by Lady Rockingham, the Prime Minister’s wife, in about 1765 - will return to display sometime, it’s one of the absolute highlights of our collection.  At the moment it’s taking a well-earned rest from the damaging light, but don’t worry, it’ll be back. 

Ingrid: I read that your geologist father was initially enraged by your choice of profession and skeptical that you'd ever find a job. What does he say now?

Lucy: He looked a bit begrudgingly impressed last time I raised the matter.  He’s reading THE COURTIERS at this very moment.  Good effort, as history, princesses and dresses are not exactly his thing. 

Ingrid: What is your next book?

Lucy: It’s called ‘If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home’, and it covers the history of the main rooms of the house from the Normans until the present day: the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen.  It goes with a BBC TV series on the same subject that I’ve just finished filming.  I had a brilliant time: I got to blacken a Victorian kitchen range, sleep in a Tudor bed, have a 1920s Marcel wave, and play bowls in the Long Gallery at Ham House.  And in my medieval peasant’s hovel I cooked a hedghog.

Ingrid: Are you ever tempted to bring a damask pillow into your modernist apartment?

Lucy: Because I have armour, taxidermy, seventeenth-century paintings and a bust of Socrates in my office at Hampton Court, I’m happier than I might otherwise be with our minimalist apartment at home (my architect partner insists upon it).  He even makes me keep my make-up in a plastic 1970s drawing office Boby trolley.  But I have sneakily introduced a gilt Baroque mirror into my own little corner upstairs (ssh, he hasn’t noticed it yet).

To learn more about Lucy Worsley and view her upcoming speaking engagements or tv appearances, check her website here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review: The Courtiers by Lucy Worsley

Had this book been available before my visit to Kensington Palace in May, it would have added much to the experience of The Enchanted Palace. At the time, I only had a cursory knowledge about Peter the Wild Boy, Queen Caroline's Cabinet of Curiosities and the like. But it is never too late to learn more about this magical palace and the people who once lived there.

In the soon-to-be released book The Courtiers, Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace, Lucy Worsely, the chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces in Britain, makes history between 1714 and 1760 sparkle.

This particular period in British history is rife with plots, passion, preening, and politicking due to the unfolding of the Hanoverian succession. The German-born Protestant George the I of Hanover had became King of Great Britain instead of fifty other relatives closer to the crown who were regrettably Catholic. His enduring reputation of being an "honest, dull German gentleman" is cast aside when the author recounts his hot temper and vindictive nature, especially towards his wife (who languished in a German prison for many years after taking a lover) and his son, Prince George Augustus (with whom he did not speak for a period of two years). Survival in the court of a king who treated his own family so harshly required a considerable wit, guile, and a solid understanding of the nuances of court etiquette.

In her book The Courtiers, Lucy Worsely goes beyond a dull recitation of facts. By using seven of the characters in a mural by William Kent along the king's staircase at Kensington Palace as the focus of her research, she creates a vivid portrait of what it was like to be in the king's court. Written in a captivating and lively style, this is a delightful book to read.

One of the most appealing characters in the book is Caroline of Ansbach, who became Queen to George II. Having a great love of books, learning and philosophy, she was a witty conversationalist and her private parties were "a strange picture of the motley character and manners of a queen and a learned woman...learned men and divines were intermixed with courtiers and ladies of the household: the conversation turned upon metaphysical subjects, blended with repartees, sallies of mirth, and the title-tattle of a drawing-room". (page 37)

Of course, my favourite passages include details of the courtiers dressing rituals, something that is rarely dealt with in such books even though dressing for court was an elaborate and time consuming ritual:

"Next Caroline's hairdresser, Mrs. Purcell, would spread a short muslin cape over the queen's shoulders to protect her dress while her hair was arranged into a high bun. Once a conical powder mask had been placed over Caroline's face, her tight curls were clotted all over with white particles. Hairdressing was not terribly hygienic, and a Georgian lady could find her head being patted with 'a paste of composition  rare/sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair." (page 175)

The only anomaly in this book are the small line drawings interspersed through the text to illustrate the characters of this historical drama. Somewhat simplistic and bland in style, the drawings are not of the same high quality as the writing. Perhaps it is my bias as an artist that I would point this out, but the book deserves better. However, it is a very minor flaw and probably something that most people would not even notice.

The Courtiers is a rare gem in the realm of history books. With her entertaining and engaging voice, Lucy Worsely has set a new standard of excellence for historians.

Title: The Courtiers, Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace
Author: Lucy Worsley
Publisher: Walker & Company, New York
Release date: August 17, 2010
Category: Non-fiction, history
Number of Pages: 334 (402 including after notes)
Price: $30 hardcover

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Of Talent and Tutus, A Performance by the School of Atelier Ballet

Waiting in the Wings by Ingrid Mida 2010

Yesterday's performance of Favourite Operatic Excerpts by the School of Atelier Ballet at the St. Lawrence Hall Ballroom was worthy of an ovation. These talented young performers from the summer program entertained the jam-packed audience with dances from La Bourree D'Achille from 1687,  Napoli (1842), and the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle (1841), as well as excerpts from Mozart's operas the Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute.

Pre-performance Instructions from Marshall by Ingrid Mida 2010

Tutus on the Piano by Ingrid Mida 2010

Dancers in Motion by Ingrid Mida 2010

Dancers taking a Bow by Ingrid Mida 2010

A Young Opera Singer and her Partner by Ingrid Mida 2010

Pas de Deux by Ingrid Mida 2010

For more information about the School of Atelier Ballet's program in which students study various forms of dance along with music and drama, visit Opera Atelier's website here.

Photo credits:  Ingrid Mida 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Upcoming Book Review: The Courtiers by Lucy Worsley

I've been devouring my advance copy of this delicious book The Courtiers, Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace by Lucy Worsley. Set to be released on August 17th in the USA, it is a rare gem among history books. The author, who is chief curator of Royal Historic Palaces,  tells tales of the Georgian court during the period 1714-1760 by bringing to life a cast of characters found in the paintings by William Kent that still line the walls of the king's staircase of Kensington Palace.

This passage from page 51 is a sample of the author's engaging and entertaining style of writing:
"Last among Princess Caroline's wing women came the unruly Maids of Honour. These well-born, unmarried young ladies, earning 200 pounds a year, were unlikely to remain single for long. Among the current crop, Mary Meadows was the steadiest, and Sophy Howe the flightiest. Then there was the elegant Molly Lepell, of course, and the broad-minded Mary Bellenden.
The Maids of Honour were all well known to the bawdy balladeers and gossip columnists of London. When the king had ordered them all to leave St. James's Palace, the characteristic reactions of the individual maids were trumpeted abroad:
     Up leapt Lepell and firsk'd away
     As though she ran on wheels;
     Miss Meadows made a woeful face,
     Miss Howe be-pissed her heels."

On Monday, August 9th, I'll post my review and later in the week I hope to post my interview with the author Lucy Worsley.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Performance by The School of Atelier Ballet

 Image provided by the Opera Atelier

This Friday, August 6th, the Opera Atelier presents a lunch hour performance by the students of the School of Atelier Ballet.  Excerpts from  The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and The Marriage of Figaro will be performed in the beautiful third floor of the historic St. Lawrence Hall. No tickets are required and the event is free.

The School of Atelier Ballet operates under the umbrella of Opera Atelier and is directed by co-artistic directors Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg. This performance is the culmination of the school’s summer program.

If you've never been inside The St. Lawrence Hall, it is one of Toronto's hidden gems.  I will be there to photograph the performance and I think it will be a treat to see the ballroom come to life with the talented young dancers of the School of Atelier Ballet.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What's on the Calendar in August?

I can hardly believe that it is already August. Where did the summer go? Here is a list of my summer must-see exhibitions:

Yves Saint Laurent at the Petit Palais, Musee de Beaux Arts in Paris until August 29, 2010

This retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent's work covers the period from 1962-2002 and includes over 250 garments from this master of haute couture and ready-to-wear. The exhibition also includes recreations of Saint Laurent's studio, private "dreaming" room, and a wardrobe designed for Catherine Deneuve.

While I won't actually get to see this exhibition in person, I saw a similar exhibition in Montreal in 2008, which opened just before the death of this great designer. To read more about the retrospective, please click here. I also wrote extensively about Yves Saint Laurent after his death, including a post called Lessons from Saint Laurent, which can be read here. (It seems like an interesting coincidence to write this post today as Yves Saint Laurent was born on August 1, 1936.)

Person, Place and Thing at the Textile Museum of Canada on until September 6, 2010

In this exhibition of portrait-based works by artists David R. Harper, Lia Cook and Stephen Schofield, textiles and sculpture intersect in an unexpected fashion. All three artists make large scale work that is tactile which draws the viewer into a sensory encounter with "embroidered, sewn and women narratives of nature, identity and history."  This exhibition affirms my belief that embroidery and sculpture are powerful forms of expression. (I will be taking a workshop called Rogue Embroidery with David Harper later this month and hope it will inspire me to take my textile-based artwork to a new level of development.)

American Women, Fashioning a National Identity at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on until August 15, 2010.

Eighty faceless mannequins present the history of American style from 1890 to 1940 as defined into distinct archetypes including The Hieress, The Gibson Girl, The Bohemian, The Patriot and the Suffragette, The Flapper, and The Screen Siren. Animated throughout by music, lighting and video projections, the exhibition culminates in a video montage of images reflecting the modern American woman including Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe.

While on the surface this may simply seem like another costume exhibit, at the core of it is an exploration of the  evolution of women's social, political and sexual emancipation as reflected in their clothing.  (And this is something that is a touchstone in my artwork). If you are unable to make it to the Met before the exhibition closes on August 15th, you can see a YouTube video of the exhibition here.