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Mar 13 - Jul 20

Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Avenue, Miami, , 33139, USA
  • Iris van Herpen, Ensemble, fall/winter 2011-12. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • “Vanitas: Fashion and Art” exhibition overview.

  • Damien Hirst, “St. Peter’s” (2007). Private Collection.


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“Vanitas: Fashion and Art” exhibition at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami

The Bass Museum of Art presents its latest exhibition, titled “Vanitas: Fashion and Art”, which explores the theme of Vanitas in art and fashion. Vanitas is a term that is traditionally associated with the late 16th and early 17th century still live paintings, but has become more generally linked to any type of creative discipline that meditates on the ephemeral character of earthly pleasures and worldly accomplishments. Vanitas highlights the meaninglessness of earthy life and the transcendence of everything that is of the earth, and has its very own iconography that includes flowers losing their petals, insects, mirrors, ripe fruit, hourglasses, as well as “memento mori” bones and skulls that remind us of the inevitability of death. The exhibition, which is curated by the renowned curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Harold Koda, plays on the idea of vanitas and vanity in fashion and brings together a careful selection of clothes and contemporary art pieces, including photographs, videos and sculptures.

Fashion, with its ephemeral character and its obsession with perfection, is addressing, according to Koda, the transient nature of beauty and the unconscious desire to avoid death. Under this perspective, Koda tried to establish links between fashion and contemporary art, putting together pieces like Damien Hirst’s “St. Peter’s” (2007), a giant butterfly composition that explores the idea of spirituality, with “Monarch Butterfly Dress and Shoes” designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, a romantic homage to McQueen’s existential view on fashion. The exhibition features also works by artists Jason Salavon, Greta Alfaro, Mat Collishaw, Ori Gersht and Sam Taylor-Johnson, which are juxtaposed with pieces by Elsa Schiaparelli, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Isaac Mizrahi, Yohji Yamamoto, Iris van Herpen, Jasper Conran and Philip Treacy. “Vanitas: Fashion and Art” is kindly supported by Vogue Mexico and will be on view until July 20, 2014.