NEW YORK — The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is getting a major boost from Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch.

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The philanthropic Manhattan couple is making a $10 million gift to the museum, which will go toward the Costume Institute’s renovation, and the creation of a 4,200-square-foot exhibition space within it. The wing will be called the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery.

“It’s going to transform our whole area,” Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute, said of the complete renovations, which will start next year.

Koda said that, since the early Nineties, the institute featured fixed glass vitrines in its permanent space.

“Although it allowed people to get closer to the objects, it was always something that the public resisted,” Koda said. “They wanted more of a sense of the tactility of the objects, because costume is as much about materials as it is about the sculptural quality of the piece. There was always a sense that by just having this interface, it was difficult to consider the surfaces of our objects.”

The new configuration will address this with rotating installations. “It will allow us to completely revisit the configuration with much more flexibility,” Koda said, adding that it will allow the museum to incorporate new technology and lighting systems, “at a time when both Andrew [Bolton, curator] and I are considering different ways of presenting costume.”

Other costume-related exhibition galleries, study collections and a conservation center will also be refurbished.

Together with the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, which it took over in 2009, the Costume Institute has about 35,000 pieces in its collection.

Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch explained how fashion, art and culture are becoming increasingly intertwined. “The renovation of the Costume Institute will give this interrelationship the proper focus it deserves at the museum,” the couple said. “The new gallery will allow young designers and students to see and learn while advancing both art history and the art of fashion design.”

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