Following the 2017 Met Gala on the evening of May 1, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils this year’s highly-anticipated Costume Institute exhibition: Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.
Showcasing over 150 garments by revolutionary Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, this year’s Costume Institute exhibition explores the art of liminality through Kawakubo’s label, Comme des Garçons.
Inverting traditional notions of beauty and style, Kawakubo has transformed the fashion industry by shattering restrictive dichotomies: fashion/anti-fashion, design/not design, model/multiple, then/now, high/low, self/other, object/subject, clothes/not clothes. These eight polar themes are what guide Art of the In-Between.
As the press release points out, this is “not a traditional retrospective.” Rather, Art of the In-Between is the Costume Institute’s first monographic profile of a living designer in over 30 years. That’s because Kawakubo’s contributions to the world of fashion have been both artful and unprecedented, characterized by “an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity.”
“In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” the Met’s Director, Thomas P. Campbell, notes. “Curator Andrew Bolton [explores] work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”
Working in a dimension of boundless transformation, Kawakubo’s hybrid, sculptural forms refuse conformation to standards of femininity, forcing us to “rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity,” says the exhibition’s curator, Andrew Bolton. “She has defined the aesthetics of our time.”
Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY, 10028 on May 4, and will run until September 4, 2017.