Editor's note: The Nassau County Museum of Art provided source material to Resource Library for the following article and essays. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Nassau County Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:



 

 

Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion

May 20 through September 7, 2008

 

Over a half century, Iris Barrel Apfel has perfected a style of dressing that constitutes nothing less than a personal art form Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion, drawn from Apfel's closets, drawers and shelves, reflects her adventures in bazaars, thrift shops, souks, flea markets, houses of haute couture and handicraft workshops that have created a singular look -- one marked by fantasy, exuberance, exoticism and, most of all, whimsy and humor. The exhibition, which originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where it was on view in the Costume Institute from September 2005 through January 2006 and was later at West Palm Beach's Norton Museum of Art, opens at Nassau County Museum of Art on May 20, 2008.

The exhibition has been adapted for Nassau County Museum of Art to include even more stunning items of clothing, accessories and jewelry from Apfel's collection than have been seen in the previous showings. At Nassau County Museum of Art, Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion is organized into a series of fully-accessorized tableaux that create an exciting viewing environment from the moment the visitor enters the galleries. The exhibition is curated by JoAnne Olian, curator emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York, and designed by Joe Pescatore, professor at Nassau Community College and Parsons the New School for Design.

An American original in the truest sense, Iris Apfel is one of the most vivacious personalities in the worlds of fashion, textiles and interior design and is widely treasured for a personal style that is both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic. Her originality is revealed in her mixing of high and low fashion-Dior haute couture with flea-market finds, Dolce & Gabbana striped leather trousers with a Zuni belt. With remarkable panache and discernment, she fearlessly combines colors, textures and patterns without regard to period, provenance, and, ultimately, aesthetic conventions. Paradoxically, her richly layered combinations-even at their most extreme and baroque-project a boldly graphic modernity.

Apfel and her husband Carl founded Old World Weavers, an international textile manufacturing company. Their exquisite workmanship and intricate designs attracted the sophisticated tastes of Greta Garbo, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Estee Lauder and many others. The couple sold the company to Stark Carpet but remained involved as consultants. She has also consulted on numerous restoration projects, including renovation and refurbishment of the White House.

Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion remains on view at Nassau County Museum of Art until September 7, 2008. In conjunction with the exhibition, Nassau County Museum of Art is presenting several stimulating lectures, discussions and other activities that will serve to enhance the experience of viewing the exhibition.

 

Special events relating to the exhibition

LECTURE
Saturday, June 7 at 4 pm
THE ARTIST PRINCES OF FASHION: MANET, DEGAS AND MATISSE
Franklin Hill Perrell
NCMA's chief curator, Franklin Hill Perrell, explores the work of three artists who conceived of their subjects with the skill and passion of a courturier. Manet presented the archetypal dandies and grandes horizontales of the Second Empire. Degas set the standards for the haute-bourgeoise of the Belle époque and the era of Worth. Matisse's extravagantly-patterned silk backdrops, exotic furnishings and elaborate jewelry embodied the sumptuous excesses of Poirot and Art Deco. Portraying the well-dressed of their respective times, these painters documented and transcended fashion to show what it could impart about class, status and style. Fee. To reserve, call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 or write to reginaforlenza@nassaumuseum.com.
 
LECTURE/TOUR
Wednesday, June 11 at 2:30 pm
PRIVATE TEA & TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION
Introduced by Constance Schwartz
Exclusive Docent Tour
Private Tea & Tour of the Exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the museum's current exhibition. The tour is introduced by the museum's director, Constance Schwartz, and features a private guided tour followed by a menu of tea, sandwiches, scones and sweets in the beautifully refurbished Café Musée. Space is limited; reserve early. Fee. To reserve, call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 or write to reginaforlenza@nassaumuseum.com.
 
LECTURE
Saturday, June 22 at 4 pm
EXTREME IRIS
Dr. Charles A. Riley II
When fashion defies limits, creativity soars and taste is redefined. Iris Apfel, the subject of the museum's current exhibition, broke the rules and set new standards for originality in a realm that rewards the virtuoso. Join cultural historian Charles A. Riley II, PhD for a multimedia, interdisciplinary exploration of genius at work. Fee. To reserve, call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 or write to reginaforlenza@nassaumuseum.com.
 
LECTURE/TOUR
Wednesday, July 9 at 2:30 pm
PRIVATE TEA & TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION
Introduced by Constance Schwartz
Exclusive Docent Tour
Private Tea & Tour of the Exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the museum's current exhibition. The tour is introduced by the museum's director, Constance Schwartz, and features a private guided tour followed by a menu of tea, sandwiches, scones and sweets in the beautifully refurbished Café Musée. Space is limited; reserve early. Fee. To reserve, call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 or write to reginaforlenza@nassaumuseum.com.
 
EXHIBITION TOUR/PANEL DISCUSSION
Wednesday, July 9
Exhibition Tour by Franklin Hill Perrell at 6 pm
Panel Discussion Moderated by Constance Schwartz at 7 pm
WHY COLLECT?
Four prominent Long Island art collectors -- one an admirer of the Impressionists, two with interests in modernism and contemporary art, and another who specializes in the Hudson River School -- discuss how and why they collect. Why specialize or collect across the board? How to develop resources and contacts within the art market? How to uncover hidden treasures? And finally, how do they find and snap up the new hot thing before it becomes impossibly expensive? The discussion is moderated by Constance Schwartz, the museum's director. Prior to the panel discussion, Chief Curator Franklin Hill Perrell will lead participants on a private tour of the current exhibition. Fee. To reserve, call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 or write to reginaforlenza@nassaumuseum.com.

 


 

 

 

 

 

All above photos are of objects from the exhibition Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion, which opens on May 20, and remains on view through September 7, 2008 at the Nassau County Museum of Art. Photos courtesy of Nassau County Museum of Art.


Editor's note:

Please also see these essays authored in conjunction with the exhibition:

 

Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Ms. Doris Meadows, Nassau County Museum of Art, for assistance concerning the republishing of the above essays.

Resource Library readers may also enjoy:

 

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Nassau County Museum of Art in Resource Library


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