TIME AND TIME AGAIN: Resist the numerous puns that would be applicable at the end of a clock-watching year. On Jan. 17, the design of Costume Institute’s “About Time: Fashion and Duration” exhibition will be the focus of a virtual talk as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Sunday at The Met” series.
The talk will feature Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of the Costume Institute, and visual artist and stage designer Es Devlin, who designed the exhibition. Orchestrating the umpteen details and logistics that the annual show requires is normally intense, and doing so during a pandemic undoubtedly upped the challenges for Bolton and his team. He and Devlin will discuss the inspiration, planning and execution of the show’s design.
Those who have ventured into The Met’s Costume Institute have seen the two oversize clock faces that are meant to relay 60 minutes of fashion. The original plan for Devlin to design a maze was scrapped in favor of a swinging pendulum suspended from the ceiling in one gallery and other clock motifs. (Word had come back that the fire department would not have approved a maze.) “Fashion, to me, is the purest expression of modernity, and ephemeral; it’s change and progress. More than any other art form, fashion is able to turn so quickly,” Bolton said in an interview last fall.
Visitors to The Met have also heard the audio recordings of Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and a few other Oscar-winning actresses reading from Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando.” The author serves as the ghost narrator for the exhibition.
Bolton and Devlin will discuss how the temporal twists and turns of fashion history were translated into the physical space. Elle Decor’s editor in chief Asad Syrkett will moderate their digital talk. Art and fashion fans can find it on The Met’s site or on YouTube, where it will be available for no fee. The start time is 11 a.m.
Previewing the exhibition in late October, Bolton told WWD, “Fashion is reflecting this accelerated pace of time with technology and everything being so digitally connected 24/7. But fashion has reflected this need for immediacy and instantaneousness [for a while]. The production of fashion had had to speed up, the circulation of fashion has turned up and the consumption has sped up — so some of this is about slowing down.”
In recent weeks, many museums around the country have temporarily shuttered again, due to spikes in COVID-19 cases. The Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston are among the cultural institutions that have hit the pause button on welcoming visitors. Like many cultural institutions that are trying to gain a foothold during the coronavirus crisis, The Met is amplifying its online offerings to encourage consumer engagement. After reopening in late August, and unveiling “About Time” in late October, The Met has managed to keep its doors open to the public with reduced capacity to ensure for social distancing. “About Time: Fashion and Duration” will remain on view through Feb. 7, barring any government-mandated shutdowns.