With summer around the corner, it’s getting to be museum season.
Around this time of year, fashion people are always abuzz about the Met’s latest Costume Institute exhibit (for non-fashion people, it’s what the Met Gala celebrates). I was at the Met the Saturday before the gala, and the massive tents had already been erected for the red carpet. Obviously, this year’s exhibit: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: The Art of the In-Between,” wasn’t open yet. Instead, I was there to see the Irving Penn Centennial.
Penn’s career as a photographer spanned seven decades for a variety of publications. Some photos in the first and second galleries were from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. There are photos of Vogue covers from 1950. Several spaces over are portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Truman Capote, and Joan Didion; as well as a photo of Nicole Kidman in Chanel Haute Couture from the mid-2000’s.
Penn’s 100th birthday would be June 17th, 2017; hence the exhibit being ‘centennial.’ Not only are the prints in incredible condition, but they capture a wide span of people in drastically different time periods.
I’ve been a fan of Irving Penn for what seems like as long as I’ve been able to breathe. I don’t pretend to be a photography historian, but from years of loving his work, I had low expectations. The collection subverted those expectations entirely. The exhibit is a must-see for any lovers of photography, fashion, art, and culture (or just a trip to the Met). It’s incredibly thorough and not to be discounted.
The exhibit is on display until July 30th, 2017. Details can be found here.