The Frick Pittsburgh Announces Publication of Collection Guide

A New Handbook Of Collection Highlights Has Been Published In Conjunction With A Major Exhibition That Celebrates The Works Of Fine And Decorative Arts At The Heart Of The Frick Experience

This fall the exhibition galleries at The Frick Art Museum are being taken over by the permanent collection for the first exhibition in eight years to focus exclusively on the works of fine and decorative art in the collection of the Frick Art & Historical Center (The Frick Pittsburgh). The Frick Collects: From Rubens to Monet celebrates the works of fine and decorative art at the heart of the Frick experience. The exhibition will remain on view through May 14, 2017. Admission is free.

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Claude Monet (1840-1926) Banks of Thr Seine at Lavacourt (Bords de la Seine a Lavacourt) 1879. The Frick Pittsburgh.

Located on the Pittsburgh estate of late-19th-century industrialist Henry Clay Frick, The Frick Pittsburgh is the steward of collections left as a legacy to the people of Pittsburgh by Frick’s daughter, Helen Clay Frick. The permanent collections include fine and decorative arts, cars, carriages, historic objects, and buildings. The Frick experience includes The Frick Art Museum, the Car and Carriage Museum, Clayton, the Frick family Gilded Age mansion, and six acres of beautifully landscaped lawns and gardens. Also included are an Education Center, the Frick children’s playhouse (designed by renowned architects Alden & Harlow), a large working greenhouse (also designed by Alden & Harlow), The Café at the Frick, and the Grable Visitor Center, which houses the Frick Museum Store. (More information is available online at www.TheFrickPittsburgh.org.)

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Arthur Devis (1712-1787) Sir Joshua Vanneck and His Family, 1752. The Frick Pittsburgh, featured in The Frick Collects: Rubens to Monet

From Henry Clay Frick’s early purchases, to his daughter Helen’s collecting interests, through to the acquisitions that have been made by the museum in recent years, (through this exhibition) visitors will see and learn about the enduring legacy of the Frick family as art collectors. Objects will be brought together to tell a unified story—a story that doesn’t stop with Henry Clay Frick’s early purchases for Clayton, but continues, looking at both Henry and Helen as the collectors who have shaped the Frick Art & Historical Center’s holdings.

The earliest acquisitions in the collection date to Henry Clay Frick’s bachelor days. Before his marriage (and for the first months after his marriage) he lived in downtown Pittsburgh at the fashionable Monongahela House. He bought his first paintings and decorative objects for his rooms there: an elaborate rococo revival clock and candelabra set purchased through Tiffany’s, an ebonized cabinet, and his first documented painting purchase, a landscape by local artist George Hetzel.

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Antip Kuzmichev (Russian, 1856-1917) for Tiffany & Co, Tea Set, 1892. The Frick Pittsburgh; featured in the current The Frick Collects: Rubens to Monet exhibition.

When they moved into Clayton, Henry Clay Frick and his wife furnished it as many young couples do—most of the purchases were new, fashionable and of the period. Frick had met his wife, Adelaide Howard Childs (1859-1931) in February 1881. Adelaide was the sixth daughter of the wealthy Pittsburgh Childs family, who were manufacturers and importers of shoes and boots. For young couples during America’s Gilded Age like the Fricks, art collecting was not simply a way to exercise taste and create a suitable environment—although these were important considerations. More subtly the right objects gave their owner a sense of history and pedigree. Collecting was a personal pleasure and an indicator of status, discernment and good taste.

The Frick Pittsburgh Guide

The Frick Pittsburgh: A Guide to the Collection, Scala Arts Publishers, Inc., 2016. Cover features Peter Paul Rubens’ Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Conde, circa 1610. The Frick Pittsburgh. (PRNewsFoto/The Frick Pittsburgh)

The rise in American collecting of this period also coincided with the establishment of the first museums in the country, including the Wadsworth Athenaeum of Hartford, Connecticut in 1842, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1870, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1872, and in 1896, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute. As the century progressed, forming collections and bequeathing them to the public became one way to put wealth and the accumulation of a collection to public service.

It was Helen Clay Frick’s vision that led to the restoration of Clayton as a house museum. The Frick Art Museum, which was opened to the public in 1970 just a block south of Clayton, was built primarily for the collection she developed, rather than the one she inherited. Helen even had the family cars and carriages carefully preserved and brought back to Pittsburgh from the family’s Massachusetts summer estate. Continue reading

815,992 Visitors to Costume Institute’s China Exhibition Make It Fifth Most Visited Exhibition in Metropolitan Museum’s History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, which closed yesterday, attracted 815,992 visitors during its run from May 7 to September 7, putting it in fifth place among the Museum’s most visited exhibitions. Joining blockbusters such as Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978), Mona Lisa (1963), and Painters in Paris (2000), the popular show exceeded the number of visitors to The Costume Institute‘s prior most popular exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), which was the Met’s eighth most visited exhibition, with 661,509 visitors.

The exhibition explored the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. High fashion was juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.

The exhibition, which was originally set to close on August 16, was extended by three weeks, and then hours were added on September 4 and 5, when it stayed open until midnight, three hours past the Museum’s usual 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night closing time.

The exhibition, curated by Andrew Bolton, was a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art. Wong Kar Wai was artistic director and Nathan Crowley served as production designer.

Encompassing approximately 30,000 square feet in 16 separate galleries in the Museum’s Chinese and Egyptian Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, it was The Costume Institute‘s largest special exhibition ever, and also one of the Museum’s largest. With gallery space three times the size of a typical Costume Institute spring show, China accommodated the high numbers of visitors without lines.

We are thrilled that so many visitors from around the world experienced this exploration of the impact of Chinese art on Western fashion,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The exhibition is one of the most ambitious the Museum has ever mounted, requiring an extraordinary collaboration across departments with unprecedented results. There are certain projects that only the Met can do, and this was certainly one of them.”

The exhibition was made possible by Yahoo. Additional support was provided by Condé Nast and several Chinese donors. The exhibition is featured on the Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #ChinaLookingGlass and #AsianArt100.

Met Museum Presents: Alina Cho Interviews Alber Elbaz

The Atelier with Alina Cho Continues with a Conversation Featuring Alber Elbaz at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Atelier with Alina Cho will conclude its inaugural season with Alber Elbaz, Artistic Director of Lanvin, in conversation with style journalist Alina Cho on Tuesday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m.  On The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s stage, Cho’s series has presented candid conversations about the fashion industry as it relates to art and visionary thinkers, launched with Anna Wintour on November 17, 2014, followed by Donatella Versace on April 30, 2015. Tickets start at $40.

The series has been part of the 2014-15 season of Met Museum Presents, which offers innovative talks and performances at the Metropolitan Museum, and will continue next season. Programs in the 2015-16 season will be announced at a later date.

Met Museum Presents is a wide-ranging series of performances and talks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art that explores contemporary issues and innovations through the lens of the Museum’s exhibitions and unparalleled gallery spaces. Met Museum Presents creates a platform for curators, thought-leaders, and artists to come together and explore the Met as a generative force.

Alina Cho is currently Editor-at-Large at Ballantine Bantam Dell, responsible for curating, co-editing, and co-writing books on style and fashion. Cho is perhaps best known for her fashion coverage on CNN.  Since 2001, Alber Elbaz has served as the artistic director of Lanvin Paris. Under his tenure, the brand has experienced tremendous growth, due in large part to his “industrial couture” approach to fashion.

For tickets, visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets or call 212-570-3949. Tickets are also available at the Great Hall Box Office, which is open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.—3:30 p.m. Tickets include admission to the Museum on day of performance.

Visitors to Four 2014 Exhibitions at Metropolitan Museum Generated $753 Million in Spending in New York

Visitors to The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s presentation of four special exhibitions during the spring/summer 2014 season—Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century; The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt; Charles James: Beyond Fashion; and Garry Winogrand—generated an estimated $753 million in spending in New York, according to a visitor survey released by the Museum today. Using the industry standard for calculating tax revenue impact, the study found that the direct tax benefit to the City and State from out-of-town visitors to the Museum totaled some $75.3 million. (Study findings below.) 53% of the out-of-town exhibition visitors reported that visiting the Met was a key motivating factor in their decision to visit New York. (The latest economic impact survey was conducted by the Museum’s Office of Market Research.)

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum, noted: “As this annual survey continues to indicate, the Met’s stellar range of exhibitions, as well as its renowned collection, are recognized world-wide for their excellence, and continue to draw domestic and international visitors to New York in large numbers. This visitorship plays a vital role in the City’s cultural tourism, which is a powerful contributor to the economic well-being of New York.”

Emily K. Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum—who also serves as chair of NYC & Company, the City’s official tourism agency—stated: “With travelers still coming to New York in record-breaking numbers, the Metropolitan Museum continues to hold its place as the most-visited cultural attraction in the City. We are pleased to see through this survey that the Met remains such a strong motivating force for our visitors from outside the five boroughs of New York City.”

In the spring/summer 2014 period, Lost Kingdoms, on view from April 14 through July 27, drew 197,710 visitors. Attendance for The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt was 559,876 during its run from April 29 through November 2. This spring’s Costume Institute exhibition on Charles James attracted 505,307 visitors from May 8 through August 10, and Garry Winogrand had a total attendance of 165,579 from June 27 through September 21, 2014. (Further details about each exhibition appear below.)

The survey found that 79% of the Museum’s visitors from May through August traveled from outside the five boroughs of New York City. Of these travelers, approximately half were domestic, and the other half international tourists. Eighty percent of travelers reported staying overnight in the City and, of these, 70% stayed in a hotel, hostel, or rented apartment. The average length of stay was 6.3 days. These out-of-town visitors reported spending an average of $1,122 per person ($746 for lodging, sightseeing, entertainment, admission to museums, and local transportation, and another $376 for shopping).

Fifty-three percent of Met out-of-town visitors cited the Met as a key motivating factor in visiting New York City. Using a scale of zero to ten, 28% of visitors responded with a rating of 8 or above when asked how important seeing one of the four exhibitions was in motivating them to visit New York, and 53% gave a rating of 8 or above with regard to the Met in general. The primary purpose of traveling to New York was pleasure for 84% of visitors, business for 3%, and combined business and pleasure for 13%. The estimated economic impact is $399 million for the portion of visitors who reported their visit was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, and $211 million for those who said the exhibitions were a key motivation, yielding an estimated tax benefit of $39.9 million and $21.1 million, respectively.

The number of visitors surveyed was 1,171. Eighty-six percent of visitors reported that they planned to see at least one of the four exhibitions in this study. The economic impact is based on people who actually visited at least one of these exhibitions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art—the most visited cultural attraction in New York City—welcomed 6.2 million visitors in Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014).

Of the Museum’s 2.2 million visitors from May through August (the time frame of this study),79% came from outside the five boroughs of New York City. Approximately half of those out-of-town visitors were domestic and the other half international tourists. International visitors on average spend more and stay longer than domestic visitors.

Visitor Spending

The total estimated visitor spending in New York City by out-of-town visitors to the Museum’s spring/summer exhibitions is $753 million. Using the standard estimated 10% tax rate (combining sales and hotel taxes), the tax benefit for New York City and State would be $75.3 million for all visitors.

Fifty-three percent of the out-of-town visitors reported that visiting the Met was a key motivating factor in their decision to visit New York City. 28% of the out-of-town visitors said that seeing one of the four exhibitions (Lost Kingdoms, The Roof Garden Commission, Charles James, and Garry Winogrand) was an important motivating factor in visiting New York. Using a scale of zero (not at all important) to ten (very important), 28% of visitors gave a rating of 8 or above in regard to the exhibitions, and 53% gave a rating of 8 or above to visiting the Museum in general.

The estimated visitor spending is $399 million for just the portion of visitors who reported their visit was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, and $211 million for the portion of visitors who reported that the exhibitions were a key motivation for their trip, yielding an estimated tax benefit of $39.9 million, and $21.1 million, respectively.

Visitors from out-of-town reported spending on average $1,122 per person during their stay in New York City: $746 for expenses and $376 for shopping. Expenses included hotel, dining, entertainment, and local transportation but excluded transportation to the City. Eighty percent of the out-of-town visitors stayed overnight in the City and, of these, 70% stayed in a hotel, hostel, or rented apartment. The average length of stay was 6.3 days. Museum visitors are active participants in other cultural activities. During their visit to New York, 87% visited other museums, 50% saw a Broadway or theatrical show, and 37% visited an art gallery. These results indicate that Met Museum visitors continue a wide participation in multiple cultural activities while in New York. In terms of other leisure activities, 65% of visitors shopped while in New York and 51% dined at a restaurant.

The full-year estimate of visitor spending in New York, by out-of-town visitors to the Museum in Fiscal Year 2014, is $5.13 billion. During that year, The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomed 6.2 million visitors, 26% of them from NYC, and 74% from outside the five boroughs. For those whose visit to New York was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, the estimated annual impact is $2.72 billion, with a tax impact of $272 million.

Exhibitions Included in Survey
Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century
April 14 – July 27, 2014 (15 weeks)
Total Visitors: 197,710
Average/Day: 1,797

Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Centurywas the first international loan exhibition devoted to the early art of Southeast Asia. The 160 sculptures on view—from Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam—provided a unique window onto these forgotten cultures. The exhibition was made possible by the Placido Arango Fund, the Fred Eychaner Fund, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by Jim Thompson America, Inc. and Bangkok Broadcasting & T.V. Co., Ltd.

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt
April 29 – November 2, 2014 (27 weeks)
Total Visitors: 559,876
Average/Day: 3,128

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt created an entirely new terrain of steel and two-way mirrored glass set between ivy hedgerows that engaged with issues of urbanity, public space, and the viewer’s own experience within it. The exhibition was made possible by Bloomberg. Additional support was provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

Charles James: Beyond Fashion
May 8 – August 10, 2014 (13 weeks)
Total Visitors: 505,307
Average/Day: 5,209

Charles James: Beyond Fashion examined the career of the legendary 20th-century Anglo-American couturier (1906-1978), whose ball gowns and innovative tailoring continue to influence fashion designers today. The exhibition was made possible by AERIN. Additional support was provided by Condé Nast.

Garry Winogrand
June 27 – September 21, 2014 (12 weeks)
Total Visitors: 165,579
Average/Day: 1,882

Garry Winogrand, a retrospective of one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, featured approx. 175 of his best-known photographs from his 30-year career.

The exhibition was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The international tour of this exhibition was sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Leadership support was provided by Randi and Bob Fisher. Additional support was provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation. Economic impact is calculated using the standard estimated sales tax rate.

 

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

April 29 – November 2, 2014 (weather permitting)

Installation Location: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden

American artist Dan Graham (born 1942, Urbana, Illinois) will create a site-specific installation atop The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden—the second in a new series of commissions for the outdoor site. Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze, part modernist skyscraper façade. Set within a specially engineered terrain designed in collaboration with the Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt (born 1957, Balzers, Liechtenstein), the work—titled Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout—will be both transparent and reflective, creating a changing and visually complex environment for visitors. The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt will be on view from April 29 through November 2, 2014 (weather permitting). A variety of education programs will also take place in conjunction with the exhibition.

Dan Graham (b. 1942, Urbana, Illinois). Two Different Anamorphic Surfaces, 2000. Installation view from Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden

Dan Graham (b. 1942, Urbana, Illinois). Two Different Anamorphic Surfaces, 2000. Installation view from Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden

For the past 50 years Graham has engaged his interest in architecture and the way it structures public space through a multidisciplinary practice that includes writing, photography, video, performance, and—beginning in the 1970s—sculptural environments of mirrored glass and metal.  He calls these hybrid structures “pavilions” after the ornamental buildings that decorate 17th- and 18th-century formal gardens—architectural fantasies inspired by the ruins of classical antiquity.

Graham’s pavilions similarly invite romance or play, but their forms and materials have a more contemporary source: the gleaming glass facades of modern office towers.  For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency; it also provides a certain camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.

With this signature material, Graham’s pavilions also transform observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, make them acutely aware of their own viewership.

The artist’s pavilions likewise respond to their specific sites. The Museum’s Roof Garden, where the idyllic expanse of Central Park confronts the tall buildings of midtown Manhattan, is both of the city and at a certain remove from it.  The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also reminded Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates private property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth. Graham’s collaboration with Günther Vogt further illuminates the site’s multilayered references—historic gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as its pavilion engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror-play. For Vogt, landscape architecture is a heterogeneous field that unites different aspects of design with natural and social sciences.

We are thrilled to present this extraordinary new commission,” stated Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum. “For decades, Dan Graham has created work that challenges viewers to think in new and thought-provoking ways about the streets and cities they traverse every day. In his reimagining of the Met’s roof, visitors will discover a picturesque landscape that is at once unexpected and familiar.”

Born in Urbana, Illinois, and raised in Winfield Township, New Jersey, Dan Graham lives and works in New York City. Graham has been investigating the relationship between architectural environments and those who inhabit them since the late 1960s. His diverse practice, which encompasses writing, photography, video, performance, and the creation of sculptural environments, has influenced generations of artists. Graham’s glass pavilions have been realized in sites worldwide, particularly in Europe. The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt is the artist’s first major site-specific commission in New York City since his 1991 installation, Dan Graham: Rooftop Urban Park Project at Dia Center for the Arts. Graham has had retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Walker Art Center (2009–10); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2006); Museu Serralves, Porto (2001); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1997); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1993); Kunsthalle Berne (1983); and the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (1981). He has participated in Documenta 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992, and 1997). Among the numerous awards he has received are the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award, Zurich (1992), and the French Vermeil Medal, Paris (2001). He also was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2010.

What Dan creates is a new form of quixotic landscape architecture that combines nature and community within a city environment,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum’s Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art.  “It is work that draws paradoxically on formal 18th-century Northern European gardens, while also referencing the glossy sleekness of corporate skyscrapers and the American suburban vernacular.”

Over the past 10 years, Günther Vogt of Vogt Landscape Architects, Zurich, has designed a wide variety of public and private outdoor spaces in Switzerland and Europe. These include the grounds of the Allianz Arena in Munich; the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Tate Modern, and the Olympic Village in London; and the FIFA headquarters and Masoala Rain Forest Hall in Zurich.  Vogt is professor of landscape architecture at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich and on the faculty of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. His survey Miniature and Panorama: Vogt Landscape Architects, Projects, 2000–2012 was published in 2012 by Lars Müller, Zurich.

Several other related projects by Dan Graham will be on view in the Museum’s modern and contemporary art galleries (Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for Modern and Contemporary Art, Second Floor, Galleries 917 & 918, Installation Dates: April 28–November 2, 2014) to complement the artist’s Roof Garden installation. The works include videos, photographs, and another, smaller pavilion—Triangular Solid with Circular Cut-Outs, Variation K (2011–14).

Triangular Solid with Circular Cut-Outs uses the familiar two-way mirrored glass of the skyscraper in an intimate, gazebo-type structure. Its form relates to both the moon gates of traditional Chinese gardens—round apertures designed to frame a particular view—and the mirrored walls of Rococo pavilions that reflect and amplify the effects of sunlight or candlelight. Also on display is a model of the triangular glass pavilion Double Exposure—Graham’s 1995 proposal for an exhibition in Germany, which was installed at the Serralves Museum in Portugal in 2003. One side of Double Exposure is a color transparency of the landscape directly outside. From inside the pavilion, the viewer confronts a curious doubling of vision that references, in part, 19th-century panoramas and other precursors of modern cinema. The videos on view explore other pavilions, and the photographs—mainly snapshots taken when Graham revisited the New Jersey suburbs of his youth—capture the extraordinary breadth of the artist’s interests.

In conjunction with the installation, the second in a new series of books considering the annual Roof Garden projects has been published. The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt features an essay by Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator, and an interview with the artist by Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, both of the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. The 64-page paperback is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press ($9.95).

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt and its publication were conceived by Sheena Wagstaff and curated by Ian Alteveer, in consultation with the artist. The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg, with additional support provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

The installation will be featured on the Metropolitan Museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org.

Sandwiches, snacks, dessert, and beverage service—including espresso, cappuccino, iced tea, soft drinks, wine, and beer—will be available at the Roof Garden Café daily from 10:00 a.m. until closing, as weather permits. A martini bar will also be open on the Roof Garden on Friday and Saturday evenings (5:30–8:00 p.m.).

Advance Details of “Charles James” Exhibition and new Anna Wintour Costume Center from the Metropolitan of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a press presentation on Monday, February 10, 2014, at the Museum to reveal early details about The Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and the new Anna Wintour Costume Center, both opening on May 8.  Aerin Lauder, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Anna Wintour joined Museum Director Thomas P. Campbell, Museum President Emily Rafferty, and Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute Harold Koda in the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery for a glimpse of some of the James gowns to be featured in the exhibition, on view May 8–August 10, 2014, at the Met in New York City.  Elettra Wiedemann wore a facsimile of Charles James’s Clover Leaf Gown; the facsimile was created to study the dress in motion, since the original, like all accessioned objects at the Museum, cannot be worn.

Top Photo Caption: (from left) Thomas P. Campbell, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Anna Wintour, Aerin Lauder, Emily K. Rafferty, and Harold Koda at the Met’s Charles James: Beyond Fashion advance press event. Bottom Photo Caption: Elettra Wiedemann (right) in a facsimile of Charles James’s Clover Leaf Gown opposite the original gown (left).

Top Photo Caption: (from left) Thomas P. Campbell, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Anna Wintour, Aerin Lauder, Emily K. Rafferty, and Harold Koda at the Met’s Charles James: Beyond Fashion advance press event.
Bottom Photo Caption: Elettra Wiedemann (right) in a facsimile of Charles James’s Clover Leaf Gown opposite the original gown (left). Photos: Joe Schildhorn, BFAnyc.com

The Costume Institute’s new Anna Wintour Costume Center will open on May 8 with the inaugural exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion, on view from May 8 through August 10, 2014, which will examine the career of legendary 20th-century Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906–1978).  The exhibition will be presented in two locations–the new Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery in the Anna Wintour Costume Center as well as special exhibition galleries on the Museum’s first floor.  The exhibition will explore James’s design process and his use of sculptural, scientific, and mathematical approaches to construct revolutionary ball gowns and innovative tailoring that continue to influence designers today.

The retrospective exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, will feature approximately 75 of the most notable designs produced by James over the course of his career, from the 1920s until his death in 1978.  The first-floor special exhibition galleries will spotlight the resplendent glamour and breathtaking architecture of James’s ball gowns from the 1940s through 1950s, worn by such renowned clients as Austine Hearst, Millicent Rogers, and Dominique de Menil.

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978) "Butterfly" Ball Gown, ca. 1955 Brown silk chiffon, cream silk satin, brown silk satin, dark brown nylon tulle The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Fund, 2013 (2013.591)

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)
“Butterfly” Ball Gown, ca. 1955
Brown silk chiffon, cream silk satin, brown silk satin, dark brown nylon tulle
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Fund, 2013 (2013.591)

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978) Ball Gown, 1949–50 Red silk velvet, red silk satin, white cotton organdy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1954 (2009.300.2786)

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)
Ball Gown, 1949–50
Red silk velvet, red silk satin, white cotton organdy
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1954 (2009.300.2786)

The new Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will provide the technology and flexibility to dramatize James’s biography via archival pieces including sketches, pattern pieces, swatches, ephemera, and partially completed works from his last studio in New York City’s Chelsea Hotel.  The evolution and metamorphosis by James of specific designs over decades will also be shown. Video animations in both exhibition locations will illustrate how he created anatomically considered dresses that sculpted and reconfigured the female form.  Continue reading

New Lease Amendment Signed by Metropolitan Museum of Art and City of New York, Confirming Longstanding Admissions Policy

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that at the City’s request it has signed an amendment to its 1878 lease with the City of New York. The new amendment confirms and continues the 42-year-long agreement under which the Met and the City first established, and has since maintained, a discretionary admission policy for the institution.

In addition to confirming the existing admission policy first introduced in 1971, and regularly modified with the approval of City administrations in the years since, the new amendment authorizes the museum, should the need arise, to consider a range of admission modifications in future years, subject as in the past to review and approval by the City.

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According to the new lease terms:

The Museum may set the terms of admission to its permanent galleries to the general public, including admission fees and days and hours the Museum shall be open to the public, with the written consent of the Commissioner of the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.  In granting such consent the Commissioner shall consider the fiscal needs of the Museum in light of the Museum’s commitment to serving the public and the City’s monetary support. Admissions for special exhibitions, group tours, educational programs, performances, lectures, conferences, symposia, classes, and shows mounted in the Museum’s theater and event spaces may be charged such amounts as the Museum shall from time to time prescribe.

The new lease amendment acknowledges that by 1970, municipal funding, once the major source of revenue to operate the Metropolitan’s City-owned building, was “no longer sufficient to allow the Museum to operate without charging admission fees,” and formally reiterates that the Parks Department fully authorized the Museum to begin charging visitor fees in 1971, and that the City subsequently approved all modifications in writing.

It is important to make clear as we sign this amendment that we remain very much committed to maintaining—and further widening—public access to the Museum,” commented Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan.  “Toward this end, we recently expanded our hours by opening the Met seven days a week, and have enhanced programs designed to reach out to attract visitors from every community of the City.  The effort to broaden and diversify audiences will continue.  At the same time, however, faced with perennial uncertainties about future funding sources, the Met and the City concluded that it makes sense now to consecrate our longstanding and wholly legal admissions policies.”

The continued generosity of our visitors under pay-what-you-wish remains crucial to our ability to build and maintain the Met’s encyclopedic collections and magnificent galleries, and to present special exhibitions and public programs at no additional cost to visitors who enter the building,” Mr. Campbell added. “When the policy was first introduced, the Met was a 750,000-foot-square museum attracting a million visitors a year.  The building is now more than twice the size and commensurately more expensive to maintain and secure for its more than six million annual visitors.  The quantity and quality of service provided by the Museum makes the preservation of its varied income streams more important than ever.

We are extremely grateful that the City, which has long provided essential operating support to the Met, has moved now to reaffirm a policy that not only allows visitors to pay what they wish at the door, but has encouraged us to offer same-week entrance at no additional cost to the Cloisters museum and gardens in Fort Tryon Park, and has enabled us to provide free-with-admission access to all special exhibitions, as well as cost-free gallery tours, curatorial lectures, library access, and visits by New York City school groups.  We expect and trust that the museum and the City will continue to work cooperatively into the future to preserve full access to the Met under the generous admissions policies so wisely created in the past.”