quarta-feira, 26 de novembro de 2008

TO THE FASHION TRAVELLER Moda na história da arte, Met NY

NYT, November 24, 2008
Front Row

Scanning the Masters for Blahniks

IN lieu of a winter exhibition this year, the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art introduced on Tuesday its first fashion audio tour of the museum, describing the importance of clothes as seen in a portrait by Jacques-Louis David or a fourth-century B. C. Greek statue or a German suit of armor.

That may sound like a dull substitute for a fashion show, but the tour — because it is narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, who talks about art history with the same breathy relish and melodic rhythm she might deploy to deliver a pun-soaked voice-over as Carrie Bradshaw — becomes a sassy exploration of dress that both reveals and titillates. That’s more than you could typically say for Asmat body masks or a Peruvian nose ornament resting in a glass case.

“There’s no tailoring here,” Ms. Parker says of the tunics inscribed on a terra-cotta bell krater in the Greek and Roman galleries. “No cutting,” pause, “no sewing,” pause, “but look what you can do-oo with a woven rectangle.”

She is no Philippe de Montebello, but walking through the museum, listening on a headset to Ms. Parker and Met curators talking about fashion and art for an hour or so, you begin to appreciate the significance to art of the stiff ruff collars of Elizabethan England (in a Rembrandt painting) or the slashing technique on a doublet jacket (signifying the subject of Bronzino’s “Portrait of a Young Man” was an elite, hyper-sensitive fellow). Or you can begin to look at the paintings like the pages of Vogue, as when Ms. Parker notes that the dress worn by Madame Charpentier in a painting by Renoir was designed by Charles Frederick Worth, who dominated Parisian fashion in the latter half of the 19th century but is not typically referenced by H. W. Janson.

“This helps open up the museum through fashion,” said Andrew Bolton, a Costume Institute curator. “And I love her voice. It’s so melodic and also accessible.”

Ms. Parker does indeed describe that bell krater as “a sort of fifth-century B. C. E. fashion spread”; and, at one point, she notes an early example of fashion as a status symbol, depicted in necklaces in Benin plaques from the 16th and 17th centuries.

“Just like today,” she says, “right out there on Madison Avenue,” pause, “imported goods implied high status.”

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