Savage Beauty at the Met: an inspiration

Reprinted from August 6, 2011

Yesterday I went on my artist field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But sadly enough, I did not get to see the Spanish sculptures or oil paintings.  This was the last weekend for the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit. I never even made it in the door. The line was enormous, I’d guess nearly 1,000 people were waiting to get into the general admissions entrance. But I was lucky, I’d already seen the McQueen exhibit 3 times since it opened.

I kept going back, I found it darkly inspiring, and in many ways the titles of the pieces on display in the collection gave me insight into the name of what my new performance project would be: Tuxedo Revolt.  I was inspired by the daring statements McQueen made in a world (fashion) that is almost as highbrowed and supercilious as the world of classical music.  I was also deeply interested in his artistic influences, the Romanticism and exoticism.  In a way, the Revolt is influenced also by the powerful images of the Romantic era in art– not to be confused with the often overdone masterpieces of the Romantic period in music.  I am fascinated with the dark and mystical art of Caspar David Friedrich. In fact, its my desktop background right now.

I feel that the illustration of the Savage Beauty through this exhibit is at the core of Tuxedo Revolt ideals but only in a different discipline. This exhibit makes the most avant garde fashion in the industry transcend all barriers to be completely relevant in some way to those who view the exhibit. People from far and wide flock to find what this collection means to them. Is that not what we want for music? Do we not ultimately want to find a way  to present the great masterpieces of our discipline in a way that becomes relevant to our audience? That is the question I mull over every day and seek to answer as I create my art and make artistic decisions that shape my performances.

Tuxedo Revolt pays tribute to the fallen creator, Alexander McQueen, in the image that heads this blog entry.

(Photo Credit: Aexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010). Dress, autumn/winter 2010–11. Courtesy of Alexander McQueen. Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce)

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