Sunday, May 13, 2018

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, curious to see the "Heavenly Bodies" exhibit.





I went in, arms crossed, ready to hate what I thought would be the museum equivalent of "clickbait" for the masses... and I thought I proved myself right, when I saw a dangling display of Gaultier and Versace clad forms in the Byzantine and Medieval halls of my teenage wanderings... (I take this stuff seriously, for sure)... but as you go deeper, it gets deeper. And better. And more meaningful. And you have to read, not just look, to get it.

The exhibit is not all in one place - it is in THREE.  The first is on the ground floor of the museum, near the entrance, the second is in the costume institute downstairs, and the third....?  Well it is in the CLOISTERS... meaning you have to LEAVE THE MUSEUM and go uptown to another arm of the Met to see the last of it.  It can be done, but it is a commitment I really wasn't prepared to do, timewise... so part three, which I hear is the best part, will have to wait for another day this week. Annoyed by this, and preserving my folded arms position, I entered the first section.





Seriously?

I mean... seriously?

Can't really see these up close and personal.  Versace, Gaultier.... are we doing this?

But wait... go a bit deeper, read a bit of the text, and it starts to make you think a bit... feel a bit... understand a bit better.  This exhibit needs to be seen, experienced, and read to make the impact it was carefully curated to make.  And I appreciate it.










And then, as if the exhibit were to clear its throat, you see the REAL STUFF.  The wildly ornate, beautifully, obsessively and carefully created works of wonder that are liturgical garments, worship tools, and accessories.  For the Vatican, for church leaders... and you can see the connection.  Better yet, you can feel it.  And no, it isn't trivial or "clickbait".  It was entirely worth 
doing.

Beautiful embroidery

Oh, no pictures?  I'm sorry!  Really!

As for part III, at the Cloisters, I will visit that part, too, but I have to schedule that trek for a different day.