Pop Art Fabrics and Fashion – From Warhol to Westwood
Temporary exhibition Textiel Museum, Tilburg
The exhibition was on the ground floor in the museum located between the Lab and the historical gallery. Having had such openness of conversation and photography even with the commissioned pieces happening in the Lab it was strange to move to space of no photographs. So my initial visit had some sneaky pictures, my second visit I asked and the guard was kind enough to say yes for educational purposes. Which with the complexity of the exhibition narrative and some innovative textile and fashion curation was really helpful to record for future reference.
The exhibition opened in the era of Rock ‘n Roll with some excellent examples of how textile print captured the zest and energy of the time. Textiles as an advertising and marketing a tool were presented through pieces from Bassett’s Liquorice allsorts, Bass Long Life Beer and Martini. This was innovative brand development and pieces that are often discarded. The Martini printed fabric had been made into a circular skirt confirming the sophisticated message of the drink and its standing as an aspirational brand.
|sneaky photo hence blurred.......martini skirt|
The hook of the exhibition were the pieces from Andy Warhol and Vivienne Westwood. I have a mixed relationship with Warhol. I am in awe of his ability to grab the zeitgeist of the time and be such an innovator. The taking of his work by Philip Treacy to create headwear breathed new life into over used visuals. So I stepped into this part of the exhibition determined to remove my pre-conceived thoughts and biases. I was justly rewarded. The textiles pieces were fresh and exquisitely created and charted the time pre fame when Warhol worked as a graphic designer and created textile designs. With the current vintage pattern trends the fabrics displayed were really appealing. I particularly liked the colours and shapes on the lemon print and the fountain pen print which had been made into a skirt. There were not many pieces in this part of the display but enough to tell the narrative, make one smile and look again at a designer who can be ubiquitous.
|Warhol Lemon Print|
Turning from the Warhol the exhibition moved cleanly into 1960’s design. The tabloid of fashion was well formed with excellent mannequins, displaying the clothes and the look. Fashion exhibitions can be difficult, a fine line between a shop display and museum narrative. The casing for the stands was beautiful. Sometimes it would be great to just walk into an exhibition and see the exhibition not the accouterments that make it. But I am away on research work, so I guess its allowed!!
|Op Art dresses|
Great range of Rabanne, Quant, Cardin and some hand made pieces highlighting how the look was taken on by teenagers and youths. The vitrines along side had stunning selections of jewellery and accessories which confirmed the pop art and op arts impact on fashion and design. The scenography of the exhibition was well designed and implemented.
The two rooms to the right charted the next stage and how music played an influential role. There were some high profile pieces from paper dresses and the adverts that promoted them to pieces designed and worn by the Beatles. I particularly liked the knitwear piece designed by Hockney. Always good to see a bit of Yorkshire.
The final room showcasing the Westwood pieces was a mix of video, oversized objects, T-shirt design and the clothes from punk. Again well spaced and engaged the viewer. Having such open space to exhibit and showcase work makes such a profound difference.
Really excellent exhibition even more so when I was able to take photographs.......