The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston will be the first major museum in the U.S. to present a solo exhibition of the works of fashion photographer Hiro.
Set to bow Dec. 12, “Hiro: Photographs” will feature 24 images spanning from the Sixties through the Nineties. In addition to fashion, the exhibit will include Yasuhiro Wakabayashi’s portraiture and still lives. Having met Hiro several times over the years, the MFA’s senior curator of photographs, Anne Havinga, spent many afternoons with the photographer in his New York studio planning the exhibition.
Raised in China, where he was born to Japanese parents, Hiro spent the post-World War II years in Japan before relocating to the U.S. in 1954. Early on in his career he worked as an assistant to Richard Avedon, who introduced him to Harper’s Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch. Once on his own, Hiro established a reputation for his bold use of light and color, and an elegant sense of surrealism. The Boston show will zero in on how Hiro applied his style to the work of such designers as Halston, Pierre Cardin, Harry Winston and Elsa Peretti.
The MFA will be the start of a trifecta for Hiro, whose work will be spotlighted at a Pace/MacGill exhibition that bows on Feb. 25. His photography is also said to be the subject of another show that will be unveiled this spring in London at the Hamiltons Gallery.
The MFA’s Hiro show will be part of a double billing for the museum, which has increasingly used fashion-related exhibits to help attract younger patrons. The illustrator Kenneth Paul Block will also be the focus of an exhibition that will bow Dec. 12. A WWD and W magazine alum, Block was known for melding illustration and portraiture. His society portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy, Gloria Guinness and Babe Paley personified a certain sense of sophistication. “Kenneth Block: Illustrations” will feature black-and-white charcoal drawings, as well as later works in watercolors and colored pencils, highlighting his career from the Fifties into the Nineties. Both MFA shows close Aug. 14.
The Boston museum also will debut “#techstyle” March 5 to explore the ties between fashion and technology, as well as the way designers design and how people interact with clothing. The Boston show will feature such pieces as a digitally-printed dress from Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis collection and an Iris van Herpen’s 3-D printed dress, which was produced in collaboration with MIT designer and assistant professor Neri Oxman. Visitors will also find special commissions created by Cute Circuit, The Unseen, Hussein Chalayan and Cambridge-based Nervous System.