After being closed for close to six months, The Metropolitan Museum of Art finally reopened to the public at the very end of August with new COVID-19 guidelines and capacity restrictions. Many of the major exhibits the museum was planning this year were delayed because of the pandemic, and this year's Met Gala was cancelled entirely. But this week, the exhibit which would have provided the theme of that gala is finally opening.
The Costume Institute’s About Time: Fashion and Duration exhibition officially opens today and will run through February 7th, 2021. First announced way back in November 2019, it traces more than a century and a half of fashion, from 1870 to the present, in two adjacent galleries, exploring how "clothes generate temporal associations that conflate the past, present, and future."
As the museum explains, the exhibition is organized around the principle of 60 minutes of fashion, inspired by French philosopher Henri Bergson's concept of la durée (duration): "Each 'minute' will feature a pair of garments, with the primary work representing the linear nature of fashion and the secondary work its cyclical character. To illustrate Bergson’s concept of duration—of the past co-existing with the present—the works in each pair will be connected through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration. For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s will be paired with an Alexander McQueen 'Bumster' skirt from 1995. A black silk satin dress with enormous leg-o’-mutton sleeves from the mid-1890s will be juxtaposed with a Comme des Garçons deconstructed ensemble from 2004."
Virginia Woolf serves as the "ghost narrator" of the exhibition, and there is music by Philip Glass taken from the soundtrack to the film The Hours playing in the background, as well as Woolf monologues read by stars of that film including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore.
You can see photos from the exhibit in the gallery up above, and a photo of Anna Wintour checking it out in person below.
If you haven't been back to The Met in person since it reopened, you can read more about the reopening guidelines and safety protocols here. You can get info about purchasing timed tickets to the exhibit here.
Among the other exhibits currently on display are Making The Met, 1870-2020, the signature exhibition of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration; The Roof Garden Commission: Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour, the latest in a series of annual presentations of a site-specific work on the open-aired roof garden; and Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.