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Taking a Moment to Look Back

While conducting research on how the work of Hungarian artist Victor de Vasarely (1906-1997) may have influenced Jean Paul Gaultier’s Autumn/Winter 1995/96 collection, I came across this poster created for the 1972 Olympics held in Munich.

Curiosity of course, got the best of me (as it usually does) and I started to look at other works acquired at the time.  I discovered that in 1971, the Organisationskomitee für die Spiele der XX. Olympiade München 1972 (the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XX. Munich 1972) donated to the IMA seven different lithographs commissioned specifically for the event. After briefly conferring with IMA curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Martin Krause, I learned it was customary in the period, to enlist artists to promote the Olympics.

In total, 29 international artists were commissioned to create posters for the games that year, which now mark their 40th anniversary.  Represented in the IMA’s collection are works by:  Horst Antes (German, b. 1936), Shusaku Arakawa (Japanese, 1936-2010), Eduardo Chillida (Spanish, 1924-2002), Piero Dorazio (Italian, 1927-2005), Allen Jones (British, b. 1937), Pierre Soulages (French, b. 1919) and Victor de Vasarely (Hungarian, 1906-1997).

Allen Jones, “Olympische Spiele Munchen 1972,” 1972. Gift of the Organisationkomitee fur die Spiele der XX. Olympiade Munchen 1972. 71.79.5.

Horst Antes, “Olympische Spiele Munchen 1972,” 1972. Gift of the Organisationskomitee fur die Spiele der XX. 71.79.1

Piero Dorazio, “Olympische Spiele München 1972,” 1972. Gift of the Organisationkomitee fur die Spiele der XX. Olympiade Munchen 1972. 71.79.4

Shusaku Arakawa, “Olympische Spiele München 1972,” 1972. Gift of the Organisationkomitee fur die Spiele der XX. Olympiade Munchen 1972. 71.79.2.

I share these works with you to honor lives lost 40 years ago in what is now referred to as the Munich Massacre,  as well as commemorate Olympic achievement since then and triumph by not only athletes representing the United States of America, but for all athletes whose hard work, determination and spirit are an inspiration.

This one’s for you.

 

Back in the Saddle Again: Project IMA

Project IMA: Fashion Unbound, 2010. Winner: Jeremy B. Hunt.

The first IMA organized fashion show, Project IMA, debuted in 2008 on an idea and a shoestring. The idea was simple: engage our community through fashion in order to promote the traveling exhibition, Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Permanent Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It seemed therefore fitting to draw from the community for participants. Having only moved to Indianapolis six months prior, I scoured the web and attended multiple fashion events to quickly discover, much to my delight, a strong assembly of designers, wearable artists and stylists within the city. As a result, we asked 16 designers to participate in the fashion show. They had four months to visit the exhibition, study the accompanying catalogue and devise a plan for one to two ensembles that “featured outrageous, beautiful, irreverent and glamorous designs.”

Not only were the pieces created interesting, varied, and thought-provoking, but the public’s response was overwhelming. So many people attended the show we had to schedule an impromptu second show for all those who couldn’t make it in the first round. There are even rumors that the amount of traffic flowing into the parking lot actually (temporarily) shut down 38th Street. Not bad, eh?

Project IMA: Fashion Unbound, 2010. Designs by Francis Stallings

So, in 2010, we decided to try it again. Only this time, we used our own exhibition, Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Permanent Collection, as the stimulus and opened the call for entries internationally. The response was exuberant.  We had over 50 people submit proposals for inclusion. Of those 50, we selected 40 participants who met the guidelines and, just like that, Project IMA: Fashion Unbound was in full swing.  Two back-to-back shows (having learned from experience) took place in The Toby to enthusiastic crowds. The concepts employed and the quality designs, almost 80 in total, were impressive. There were pieces made from paper, plastic bags and rubber bands while others, confronted, amused and referenced history. After much deliberation, the judges selected a piece by Jeremy B. Hunt as the best of show and awarded him the Elizabeth Kraft-Meek fashion design award. Afterwards, guests, designers, models and crew attended the official Behind the Seams after party, hosted by the newly formed affiliate group, FAS. Here audience members viewed garments up close, lined up for photos by Got Shot, and listened to the music of local pop sweethearts, Beta Male.  All in all, the event was a success.

So, here we go, again…

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So, What If It Doesn’t Fit?

You customize, of course.

Material World, the latest exhibition in the Paul Textile and Fashion Arts Galleries, is comprised of tantalizing objects from around the world, each with its own set of installation needs. From court dresses to Imperial robes to ceremonial dance ensembles, the size and weight of the objects, vulnerability of materials, and the support needed vary from object to object. Some pieces demand heads for accompanying headdresses, while others require specific stances, or modified mounts.

Custom mount for woman’s belt.

Installed, the ring supports the belt allowing long fringe to hang freely.

In some instances, dresses slipped on mannequins with little adjustment, but in other cases the silhouette of the garment or weight and texture of the fabric prohibited the use of conventional dress forms. One example is a Chinese Palace Guard uniform worn by a sentinel in the Imperial army during the Qing Dynasty. The ensemble consists of eight pieces: an oversized coat, over-trousers split in the center covered with an embroidered panel, two shoulder ornaments made of heavy gilt bronze, and patches buttoning onto the jacket. The striking ensemble is made of heavy brocaded satin cloth with gold metallic threads enhanced by the addition of hundreds of bronze studs covering the surface of the fabric. Due to the weight of the fabric and size of the coat, the piece could not be exhibited on a mannequin in a pose with arms at the side. In addition, we had to account for the heavy epaulets on either shoulder, to ensure that each are supported without placing any strain on the fabric. Therefore, we enlisted the help of the IMA’s mount maker, Brose Partington. Brose removed the mannequin’s arms and created customized armatures that lock on.

The result is impressive. Not only does the pose alleviate strain on the fabric (had the arms been used, the sleeves would have bunched and crushed under the arms on either side) but the domineering uniform can now be viewed in its entirety.

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The Chase

This post was co-authored by Rebecca Long, Curatorial Assistant for European Painting and Sculpture to 1945, and Petra Slinkard, Curatorial Associate of Textile and Fashion Arts/European Painting and Sculpture to 1945.

Emilio Pucci, scarf, "La Caccia," 1959. Gift of Murph Damron (2009.26)

Fashion designer and Italian aristocrat, Emilio Pucci is perhaps best known for his brilliant, sinuous prints. Inspired first by the atmosphere on the Island of Capri, Marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento (1914-1992) began designing clothing for women in 1949, opening a small shop a few years later. Preoccupied with the absurd constraints popular clothing of the time imposed on women; he re-conceptualized menswear for women, as resort wear. Loose fitting shift dresses, palazzo pants and blouses, created out of luxurious hand-painted silks. The instantly recognizable Pucci brand was highly sought after for much of the 1950s and 1960s.

Emilio regularly looked to his heritage for inspiration; his ancestry can be traced back to both Lorenzo de Medici and Catherine the Great.  “Possibly the greatest misconception about Emilio Pucci is that the prints that made the brand famous are abstract. In fact, they are drawings, often simply inspired by objects, or Pucci’s home surroundings…” (Pucci: Fashion Story, 2010, pg. 107)

Considered a Renaissance man by many , he was “… fascinated by his roots, and art and architecture; you can actually see it in his work. On my honeymoon in Capri in 1953, I remember going to his shop and being struck by how much the designs resembled Florentine mosaics. It was really extraordinary, although I don’t think a lot of people realized it.” –Rosita Missoni (Pucci: Fashion Story, 2010, pg. 42)

In 2009, the IMA acquired a silk scarf by Emilio Pucci, titled La Caccia or The Chase from his Botticelliana Collection, 1959.  The motif for the scarf is inspired by the Stories of Nastagio degli Onesti by Sandro Botticelli.

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It’s been quite a year

2010 has been a lively year for the textile and fashion arts department. The exhibition, Fashion in Bloom closed the end of January with a great lecture by associate curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kristina Haugland, titled, Revealing Garments: A Brief History of Women’s Undergarments. Soon after, we began preparing the Paul Textile and Fashion Arts galleries for the current exhibition, Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Collection which closes January 30, 2011, so go see it soon!

The Fashion Arts Society was founded in 2010 as well, with great response. The organization hosted their first fundraiser for the department, an after-party for the IMA fashion show Project IMA: Fashion Unbound titled Behind the Seams. The event went off without a hitch, and enjoyed by all who attended. FAS membership is growing steadily and the FAS calendar for 2011 will not disappoint.

In November the exhibition, Read My Pins, the Madeleine Albright Collection opened at the IMA with great success. The installation is beautiful and the catalogue accompanying the exhibition is a delight.
Dr. Albright visited the museum in early November, for a book signing and lecture, which was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had to date. Dr. Albright is as witty as she is smart and I think I am not alone in saying that everyone left the Toby that evening smiling.

This year the department also acquired about 45 new acquisitions, two of which is a dress (1972) by Halston (now on view on the IMA’s 3rd floor just outside the entrance for the Fashion Arts Gallery) and a complete Rudi Gernreich Japanese schoolboy ensemble (1967).

ensemble; ‘Japanese schoolboy’, 1967 by Rudi Gernreich (2010.205a-f) Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund

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About Petra

Job Title: Curatorial Associate of Textile and Fashion Arts/European Painting and Sculpture to 1945

Interests: Culture, Fashion, Photography, Vinyl (music in general) Teaching, Thrifting, Plants (indoor and out)

Music: Ray Charles, The Knife, Budos Band, Jarvis Cocker, Billie, Sarah and Ella, Fruit Bats, Lionel, Wes and Charlie

Food:Greens, Wine, Chocolate & Cheese- the stinkier the better!

Pets:2 cats (mother and daughter) Bunners aka Mamas and Neko aka Kitten.

Something Extra: I enjoy the unexpected.

Petra has written 15 articles for us.