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Exhibition of Portraits of Designer and Icon Diane von Furstenberg at Pace Gallery in Beijing
Hai Bo, Diane von Furstenberg, 2010, Photograph. Courtesy the artist and Pace Beijing, © 2010.

BEIJING.- The Pace Gallery, Beijing presents an exhibition of portraits of designer, muse, collector, and icon Diane von Furstenberg by some of the most celebrated artists of the past four decades, along with a retrospective of DVF fashion spanning the last forty years. Featuring portraits by artists including Francesco Clemente, Chuck Close, Helmut Newton, Julian Opie, and Andy Warhol, as well as new works by major contemporary Chinese artists, Diane von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress is the first exhibition at Pace Beijing to include Western art since Encounters, the gallery’s 2008 inaugural show, which juxtaposed portraits by Western and Chinese artists. Diane von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress will be on view at The Pace Gallery, Beijing, located in the 798 District of the Chinese capital, through May 14, 2011.

The exhibition features new portraits of Diane von Furstenberg by four leading figures in Chinese contemporary artists—conceptual artist Zhang Huan, photographer Hai Bo, painter Li Songsong, and multimedia artist Yi Zhou—resulting in a dialogue that brings the narrative of Diane’s ongoing collaborations with visual artists into the global age of the twenty-first century. Zhang Huan, Hai Bo and Li Songsong have previously been the subjects of solo shows at The Pace Gallery, Beijing.

The Pace Gallery, Beijing was the first major American art gallery to open in the Chinese capital and is among the largest privately-owned galleries in the world, with 25,000 square-feet of exhibition space.

Diane von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress features a custom-made entrance by Francesco Clemente, fusing maps of New York and Beijing. The exhibition installation has been designed by Bill Katz, who was also the architect for Pace’s fourth and newest gallery space at 510 West 25th Street in New York.

“China is the cradle of our civilization and has always inspired me tremendously. I first visited in the 1980s, and subsequent trips left a great impression on me. It is an honor to now engage with the country’s art community,” said von Furstenberg. “China is a major part of our future, and its art is already some of the most exciting being made worldwide. I am delighted to be a part of this exhibition at Pace Beijing.”

In addition to spanning four decades of portraiture, The Journey of a Dress tells the story of the remarkable life, career, and fashion designs of Diane von Furstenberg. Arranged by decade, the exhibition begins with the original DVF wrap dress from 1973, a piece of clothing so revolutionary that it landed the 29 year-old designer on the cover of Newsweek. The dress has remained a staple of women’s wardrobes since its introduction and the designs that followed over the next four decades are paired with paintings and photographs by celebrated artists including Mario Testino and François-Marie Banier. The exhibition includes over 60 vintage and contemporary dresses from Diane’s personal archives along with letters, photographs and ephemera that evoke specific moments in Diane’s history—from a Francesco Scavullo photo from the height of the disco era at Studio 54 to the Obama family’s 2009 Christmas portrait by Annie Leibovitz featuring First Lady Michelle Obama in the very same DVF wrap dress that began the story.

The works of art created specifically for this exhibition are the first portraits of Diane by Chinese artists. Zhang Huan (b. 1965) created three ash paintings―a labor-intensive process using ashes collected from Buddhist temples in Shanghai and then sorted into piles of different colors and applied to canvas―of an American flag, a Chinese flag, and a portrait of Diane inspired by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh’s photograph of her for the October 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Li Songsong (b. 1973), known for his thick impasto paintings, rendered the designer’s likeness in an oil portrait based on a photograph that appeared on the cover of Interview magazine in March 1977. Hai Bo (b. 1962) recently photographed Diane at his studio in the outskirts of Beijing. Mulitmedia installation artist Yi Zhou (b. 1978) created an original video work inspired by Diane for the exhibition.

Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg first arrived in the fashion world in 1972 with her iconic wrap dress, the seed of what is today a full fashion house. By 1976, Diane had sold millions of her dresses, coming to symbolize female power and freedom to an entire generation. In 1997, after a hiatus from fashion, Diane reemerged on the New York fashion scene with the re-launch of the dress that had started it all. Today, DVF is a global lifestyle luxury brand with 40 freestanding DVF boutiques worldwide, and the collection includes ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories, eyewear, swim, DVF by H. Stern fine jewelry and watches, rugs, home and luggage.

A firm believer in the infinite power of women, Diane sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organization that empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the world. In 2005, Diane was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for her impact on fashion, and one year later, was elected the CFDA’s new president, an office she continues to hold. In 2010 she established The DVF Awards with The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to honor women who have displayed leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to their causes.

Diane von Furstenberg is proud to partner once agin with HP to bring her creative vision to life in a new and unique way. HP's Project Pluribus technology, developed by HP Labs, is able to create an immersive 3D experience that allows viewers at The Pace Gallery, Beijing, to feel like they are sitting front row at one of Diane’s recent runway shows.

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