Monday, August 08, 2011

Rush Hour

by Francis Levy

Thankfully, the Alexander McQueen show at the Met is finally ending. Under the right conditions, it might have turned into another Happy Land disco, where a fire took the lives of 87 New Yorkers back in 1990. Even the threat of fire could have caused one of those mass stampedes like the one that killed a Wal-Mart worker and injured shoppers on Black Friday in 2008. The most significant esthetic effect of the show is the way it so accurately duplicates the claustrophobic experience of an MRI. Once you have entered, you realize you are not getting out until, like sludge, you finally make it to the end of the sewage pipe. Alexander McQueen made clothes, but is this an example of the Emperor’s New Clothes? Oh, you Philistine, this accusation is like saying that anyone could paint a Pollock. No, it’s worse! It takes great talent to put one over on the public. Romanticism and Scottish nationalism are constantly used to tout McQueen’s work, which is more reminiscent of the Addams Family than anything else. One keeps waiting for the articles of clothing to come to life and reenact the famous Forth Bridge scene from Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. Instead one is inflicted with a mirror behind which one finds video of a naked woman blanketed by moths, which is arguably the most fashionable image in the show. As you may glean, behind the disruption his work caused at the normally serene old Met, McQueen had things to say, but this is neither the time nor the place to preach to the ever-increasing choir of admirers.  Getting back to the experience of actually attending the exhibit, what other comparisons can be made? Rush hour on the 1-2-3, Heathrow during one of its frequent work stoppages or after the eruption of Eyjafjallaj√∂kull. Oh what fools these mortals be!

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.] 

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