Surreal, David Bailey, 1980Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © David Bailey
The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City has announced the theme of the 2020 Met Gala and the Costume Institute exhibition: "About Time: Fashion and Duration." The MetGala is fashion's most prominent night equivalent to the Oscar's. It gives the Metropolitan Museum of Art a chance to throw an event for its Costume Institute and for celebrities to have fun dressing up according to a highly specific theme. Recent themes have ranged from Catholicism to technology to designers like Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons. The exhibition will also be part of the Met's 150th anniversary celebrations which will trace the history of fashion from 1870 to the present, along what the museum calls a "disruptive timeline."
“This exhibition will consider the ephemeral nature of fashion, employing flashbacks and fast-forwards to reveal how it can be both linear and cyclical,” said Max Hollein, director of the Met.
Borrowing from philosopher Henri Bergson a concept called "la durée" time that flows, accumulates, and is indivisible. The show will explore the connection between fashion and time through the lens of the writings of the late Virginia Woolf, which will act as a "ghost narrator." The catalogue will include a new short story by Michael Cunningham, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, "The Hours," which was inspired by Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway."
The exhibition, which will be presented in the Met Fifth Avenue’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, will be made possible by Louis Vuitton. Bolton is working with Es Devlin, the visual artist and stage designer, on the exhibition design. “I’ve long admired her work and wanted to collaborate with her,” he says. “This theme seemed most suitable for her, she’s done several of what she calls mirror mazes and she often refers to the complexity of time with her design process.” The cochairs for the gala on Monday, May 4, will be Nicolas Ghesquière, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, and Anna Wintour.
About Time: Fashion and Duration will be on view at the Costume Institute from May 7 through September 7, 2020.