PROVIDENCE, RI.- The Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design
announced that Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion opens spring 2013, the first exhibition of its kind to focus on the persona and history of the distinctively dressed figure of the dandy. The exhibition features more than 200 objectsincluding innovative garments, bespoke clothing, works on paper, and paintingsdrawn from the Museums collections and loans from individuals and national and international institutions. Beginning with the elegant dandy George Beau Brummell (1778-1840), the exhibition traces artist-dandies from the 19th to 21st centuries, ranging from playwright Oscar Wilde and contemporary Dandy of New York Patrick McDonald to Motofumi Poggy Kogi of United Arrows. The role of exquisite craftsmanship in custom design, the dandys role as both fashion icon and caricature, and the contributions of todays style leaderssuch as Thom Browne, Rick Owens, Ouigi Theodore, and Waris Ahluwaliaare explored. An illustrated book accompanies the show, which runs April 28 to August 18, 2013.
The exhibition breaks ground by emphasizing the personalities of well-known fashionable men, focusing on the enduring bond between identity, creativity, and self-presentation. The exhibition and its companion book offer a sumptuous view of the power of clothing and fine craftsmanship. It comes at a time of renewed appreciation for the nuances and attention to detail of traditional tailoring but also innovation and boldness in menswear design. The dandy, a historical figure, is central to this development, says RISD Museum Director John W. Smith.
Diverging from recent exhibitions that have explored the general topic of menswear or even the 19th-century notion of the dandy, Artist/Rebel/Dandy proposes a new line of inquiry that examines, deconstructs, and expands on popular definitions of the dandy from one solely concerned with flamboyance and flash to a figure who is innovative, rebellious and profound in thought, say exhibition curators Kate Irvin, Curator and Head of the RISD Museums Costume & Textiles Department, and Assistant Curator Laurie Brewer.
Unlike chronological approaches to the history of fashion, Artist/Rebel/Dandy mingles personalities and time periods with original materials to present the dandy in his full spectrum. For example, the clothing and caricatures of artist Max Beerbohm are on view adjacent to the garments of Vogue magazines Hamish Bowles, while an exquisite imported Indian robe worn by the future King George IV is shown in proximity to Iké Udés contemporary photographs that explore the place of the dandy in a cosmopolitan world across geography and time. Words and images of Charles Baudelaire feature alongside the clothing and style snippets of Richard Merkin (1938-2009), noted painter and RISD professor, and the designs and slogans of impresario Malcolm McLaren. The fabrics and designs of the firms Dashing Tweeds and Luciano Barbera are represented by the designers themselvesthe contemporary dandies Guy Hills and Luciano Barbera.