I’ve got a couple of days off and have nothing planned apart from making the most of New York activities. Today I finally fulfilled my months-long aim of going to the Met; it’s somewhere I’d avoid completely at weekends. And even first thing on a Friday morning, the place was heaving.
I made the trip especially for the ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture’ exhibit that’s been around since the Spring and closes next week. Battling the crowds and passing through massive high-ceilinged rooms filled with classical busts and Monets, I made a beeline for the special exhibit.
With blaring music and rows of spikey-haired mannequins, the exhibit showed how punk seeped from the bathrooms of CBGBs here in New York to the catwalks of Paris. The exhibit did a fantastic job of showing the links from the ripped t-shirts of the East Village (and the East End) in the 1970s to the masterpieces by Vivienne Westwood or Dolce & Gabbana. It was fascinating.I particularly liked the couture gowns fashioned from recycled materials – long, flowing dresses made from immaculately cut bin bags or shift dresses made from large, very uncomfortable-looking envelopes. As the exhibit went on, we saw the punk influence evolving: How prints went from obscene, neon graphics to beautiful Jackson Pollock-esque paint dribbles.
One point I found pretty interesting was learning that in the U.K., punk was very much a lower, working class phenomenon, but in the U.S., it was largely a middle class thing. I just couldn’t picture this. The movie about CBGB’s incarnation is out soon, so I’ll have to go along and see how exactly it looked.
The exhibit seemed so different from anything else on show at the Met and I’m so glad I managed to see it before it closes.…then it took me three elevators, two maps and about half an hour to find my way out of the building. That place is ridiculous!