Alexander McQueen: Art Meets Fashion

New exhibition – From June 15 to September 10, 2023

QUÉBEC CITY, June 14, 2023 /CNW/ – After Los Angeles and Melbourne, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is proud to present from June 15 to September 10, 2023 in Québec City the Alexander McQueen: Art Meets Fashion exhibition, the first Canadian exhibition of the work of designer Lee Alexander McQueen (1969-2010), a key figure in the international fashion industry between 1990 and 2010.

A. McQueen, Woman&#39;s Dress from the Plato&#x002019;s Atlantis collection, Spring/Summer 2010, LACMA, gift from the Collection of Regina J. Drucker. Photo: &#xa9; Museum Associates/LACMA // A. McQueen, Woman&#39;s Dress (detail) from the Plato&#x002019;s Atlantis collection, Spring/Summer 2010, LACMA, gift from the Collection of Regina J. Drucker. Photo: &#xa9; Museum Associates/LACMA // Manuel Cipriano Gomes Mafra, Urn, c. 1865-1887, LACMA, gift of Barbara Barbara and Marty Frenkel. Photo: &#xa9; Museum Associates/LACMA (CNW Group/Mus&#xe9;e <a href=national des beaux-arts du Qu&#xe9;bec)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/XWQDb25UlL2BaAjTB7iNwA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTI5MQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/cnwgroup.com/b1595996d40ba477764a9a6bb4092077″/>

A. McQueen, Woman’s Dress from the Plato’s Atlantis collection, Spring/Summer 2010, LACMA, gift from the Collection of Regina J. Drucker. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA // A. McQueen, Woman’s Dress (detail) from the Plato’s Atlantis collection, Spring/Summer 2010, LACMA, gift from the Collection of Regina J. Drucker. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA // Manuel Cipriano Gomes Mafra, Urn, c. 1865-1887, LACMA, gift of Barbara Barbara and Marty Frenkel. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA (CNW Group/Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec)

When art meets fashion

Simons is the main presenting partner of the exhibition, which proposes a reflection on the creative process of “the enfant terrible” of British fashion. To explain his vast artistic heritage and sources of inspiration, a connection has been made between collections that this ingenious designer created and art works from periods from antiquity to the present of diverse cultural origins and using varied techniques. The works, some of them produced by the great masters of art history such as Dürer, Goya and Picasso, and by Québec artists François Baillairgé, Patrick Bernatchez, Clarence Gagnon, Holly King, Marcel Saint-Pierre, and Claire Savoie, transform themselves into genuine visual references that echo McQueen’s creations and collections. There is no way of knowing whether the designer sought to directly evoke the works juxtaposed with his creations, but this presentation explores the interdisciplinary impetus that defined his entire career.

The exhibition assembles 225 items to sumptuously illustrate these unique encounters. The exhibition comprises 195 objects from the LACMA collection (including 69 fashion ensembles signed Alexander McQueen from the Regina J. Drucker collection), 50 works of art including a selection of historic costumes, 17 headdresses and shoes produced by Los Angeles artist Michael Schmidt, in addition to 32 works from the MNBAQ collection. Three works from the Musée de la civilisation, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Gallery of Canada round out this imposing body of work that is sure to charm fashionistas and art lovers alike.

A rich and diverse creative universe

Lee Alexander McQueen’s critically acclaimed collections reflect a technical virtuosity whose creative process is rooted in references both autobiographical and encyclopaedic, enriched by history, the natural sciences, technology, the media, and popular culture.

The exhibition also highlights the universality of such themes as life, death, nature, mythology, religious belief systems, and the human condition that are central to internationally renowned creator’s artistic approach.

McQueen’s sources of inspiration

Four themes underpin this major exhibition’s narrative thread. They describe in detail the varied, abundant sources of inspiration that enabled McQueen to quickly distinguish himself from one collection to the next and to excel in his art.

Myth0s reveals the designer’s distant inspirations, including Christian iconography of the northern Renaissance and the Italian Renaissance, or Greek and Roman Antiquity. Fashioned Narrative explores McQueen’s agility in sharing narrations, whether imaginary, autobiographical or historical. Technique and Innovation highlights his virtuosity and how he reinvents everything. Evolution and Existence re-examines the designer’s fascination with the cycles of life and the human condition.

This thematic path enables the public to grasp the designer’s avant-gardist, non-conformist penchant in addition to appreciating his characteristic technical and conceptual virtuosity.

Stylish, inspired staging

The bold staging of Alexander McQueen: Art Meets Fashion takes visitors through six emblematic sections with distinctive atmospheres. The Mouseion is a sanctuary dedicated to muses and the study of universal knowledge. The Alley is considered as the catwalk of a fashion show or a sombre lane in London that comes to life. The Cabinet of Curiosities assembles rare, singular items that suggest unusual encounters between epochs, artistic currents, and collections. The Atelier is a luminous site in which the tailor’s rigorous gestures and the expression of expertise reveal themselves. The Labyrinth echoes Greek mythology and invites visitors to follow the creator’s tortuous thoughts on universal themes such as the human condition, life, and death. Lastly, The Laboratory is considered as a place for social, technical, and scientific experimentation, thereby allowing us to contemplate humankind’s future.

Caroline Ross, a lighting and image designer, collaborated on the exhibition’s staging to enrich the visual experience of visitors and to adorn with light, theatrical effects, and incandescent projections the areas of beauty imagined by designer Loïc Lefebvre.

Seminal works in the exhibition

An incredible prodigy, McQueen created many collections that marked both fashion lovers and the history of fashion. Among the striking creations of his collections assembled in Québec City, it must first be noted that McQueen, like Goya and Picasso, was inspired by bullfighting, as The Dance of the Twisted Bull collection eloquently attests. Clarence Gagnon’s painting Olé ! (1906) echoes this spring-summer 2002 collection, as does an etching by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Un Caballero español mata un toro despues de haber perdido el caballero (1816), which magnificently illustrate this inspiration.

Mention must also be made of the strength of the collection The Widows of Culloden (fall-winter 2006-2007), which draws inspiration from the creator’s Scottish ancestry, the MacQueen clan tartan, and the natural landscapes of Scotland to thus create exquisitely constructed romantic silhouettes. A magnificent white dress from this collection, in the section devoted to the history of costumes, is arresting indeed.

The collection The Girl Who Lived in the Tree (fall-winter 2008-2009) tells the story of a princess who leaves the branches of a tree to explore the earthly world and proposes an encounter between natural vegetation and the supernatural imagined by McQueen. A black strapless dress embroidered with illustrations by Arthur Rackham for The Dream of a Summer Night engages in a dialogue with Lush (2003), a photograph by Holly King representing an imaginary landscape that the same fabulous energy appears to inhabit.

The collection Plato’s Atlantis (spring-summer 2010) with its unfathomable motifs and blues evokes the almost abstract, luminous organic form of Jack Goldstein’s painting. With its unique image manipulation technique, Goldstein’s Untitled (1989) resonates perfectly with McQueen’s innovative textiles.

Lastly, the elegantly draped jacket from the collection Untitled (Angels and Demons) with its motifs of wings and gold angels evocative of Italian marbles, forges magnificent links with the marble Fragment with Two Seraphim (circa 1460), from the entourage of Desiderio da Settignano, or the painting (circa 1650), from the collection of ancient art of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, vividly illustrating the pure, ethereal aspect associated with celestial angels.

Credits

This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in collaboration with Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ).

Management MNBAQ
Jean-Luc MURRAY, Director General

Annie GAUTHIER, Director of Exhibitions and International Partnerships

Curatorship and Didactic Texts, MNBAQ 
Maude LÉVESQUE, Curator of Exhibitions

Yasmée Faucher, Head of Museography

Design
Loïc LEFEBVRE, Designer

Audiovisual and Lighting Design  
Caroline ROSS, Designer, Lighting and Projection Mapping

Management LACMA
J. Fiona RAGHEB, Deputy Director for Curatorial & Exhibitions

Iris JANG, Exhibition Programs Coordinator

Curatorship and Didactic Texts, LACMA

Clarissa M. ESGUERRA, Curator, Costume and Textiles, LACMA

Michaela HANSEN, Assistant Curator, Costume and Textiles, LACMA

The  exhibition has received financial support from the Gouvernement du Québec and the Ville de Québec under the Entente de développement culturel.

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a state corporation funded by the Gouvernement du Québec.

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is deeply grateful to its Foundation’s partners and donors for their financial support in the production of this exhibition.

Alexander McQueen: Art Meets Fashion
Pierre Lassonde Pavilion
June 15 to September 10, 2023

SOURCE Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

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