Punk Part Two

This morning I bemoaned a lack of contextualization in the Met’s Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition. I knew Andrew Bolton had done the research, I just didn’t see enough of it through the display or in text labels in the exhibition.

Well this afternoon I stumbled upon a video pinned to Pinterest by the Met — a gallery walk through with Bolton. Here is a lot of the missing context! It’s a great dialog about why this is important to look at and details on specific pieces.

And I didn’t mention before that I know the Punk exhibition catalog goes into great detail regarding the thesis of the show and the garments in it. I’m bummed more of this couldn’t have been included in the gallery spaces, and that it requires watching supplemental videos or buying an exhibition catalog to find the real meat.


  1. Trillium says:

    The video is fascinating. Brought back memories from the years immediately after I graduated and this was the fashion of the day amongst youth that were in the rebellious stage of life.

    I concur that the meat should be included within an exhibition. Otherwise, a visitor does not get a thorough understanding of the content of the exhibition. And I would venture that most visitors don’t have anywhere near the frame of reference that those who have an educational background in textiles and apparel have, thus meaning that they would miss out on what the total experience of the exhibition should be.

  2. KA says:

    Well now this is helpful! I mean, I enjoyed the exhibition, but I do agree with the critics’ points. Contextualization would have helped the feeling that we were just meant to ooh at pretty designs, as Shaelyn commented in the last post. I also agree with feeling a bit misled by what the focus was going to be. I blame this page, which was the only thing up on the Met site before it opened: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/punk/images. Definitely led me to believe that it would be more of a history/exploration/discussion of how high fashion appropriated the punk aesthetic rather than just a simple celebration of it. In the same vein, the large explanatory panels at the start of each room often seemed to allude to the whats and hows of “punk”, but left you feeling cheated that you didn’t get to see a visual representation of what they were talking about. The one in the last room was particularly bad, but now of course I don’t remember exactly what it said, it was something about how the punk mentality flipped the script on the wearer being the designer or something—but then of course you’re not seeing examples of that, you were just seeing designer clothes! That was annoying. But then Shaelyn and I had a randomly intellectual conversation about the crazy Comme des Garcons pieces, and I compared them to deconstructing a cheesecake, HAH. Right concept, wrong field? But on the whole it left me feeling happy that, for better or worse, this exhibition had made me think critically—it’s been a long time since I put my collage scholar pants on!

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