So we supported one of my favorite institutions, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on Monday night at the 'Party of the Year' PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The curator, Andrew Bolton, installed one of the most unlikely period rooms ever before imagined at the Met: the loo at the famous and infamous CBGBs! And just when I thought to complain about the too little graffiti adorning those who-knows-what stained walls, it was revealed that it was CBGBs circa 1975 and Richard Hell - who recently wrote a must read autobiography, I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography, totally nailed the appropriately graffitied era walls. So there! What do I know - I was just a babe in 1975 more interested in Star Wars (1977) then Vivienne Westwood's SEX shop.
The show is brilliant: straddling two continents, and three different types of punks - the grungier/beatnik type of punk that originated in New York and the grittier and frankly more glamorously attired London punks - who really knew how to put a DIY ensemble together - albeit with a little help from their friends, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren at their 430 Kings Road boutique. And then of course the later appropriation of punk by designers like Gianni Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Franco Moschino, Martin Margiela - each making their own whimsical or glamorous or subversive or couture version of the iconic language of punk: the safety pins to cover a tear in your pants so your "arse would not hang out" (Johnny Rotten), the torn clothes which originated from poverty, the graffiti of the streets, the desire to shock.
A job well done at the Met and if you are so inclined feel free to release your own inner anarchist and a scratch a little graffiti into the white 'classical' styrofoam walls of the D.I.Y. Hardware gallery, don't be afraid of the guard who is keeping an eye on you - I already saw an A for Anarchy. I just wish I could remember what I wrote in the bathroom at CBGBs...
The last mannequin in the exhibit... Flippin' the bird!
and by the way, the mannequin is wearing early 1990s Martin Margiela "shoes". I remember these shoes because a friend of mine bought them - and by them I mean pair of soles - no actual shoe to slip the foot into. My friend calmly and quite rationally explained that you simply needed to duck tape them to your foot. My husband has never quite gotten over that!
PUNK: Chaos to Couture
Metropolitan Museum of Art
May 9 - August 14, 2013