This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

12Aug/13

PUNK: CHAOS TO COUTURE

The Met’s “Punk” show is in its last days; may it rest in peace (photo © the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Met’s “Punk” show is in its last days; may it rest in peace (photo © the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Costume Institute
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Through August 14, $25 adults, children under twelve free
212-535-7710
www.metmuseum.org

In 2011, the Met made big news with its overwhelmingly popular and widely praised cutting-edge spring Costume Institute exhibition, “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” which, particularly in its last days, had tremendously long lines as people flocked to see the vast oeuvre of the late British designer, who committed suicide in February 2010 at the age of forty. One of the themes of the show came from a McQueen quote: “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.” The Met was probably hoping for a similar response to this spring’s Costume Institute exhibit, “Punk: Chaos to Couture,” breaking all kinds of rules, but instead this display arrived DOA (no offense to the legendary Canadian band that just broke up). Divided into such themes as “New York and London,” “Graffiti and Agitprop,” “Clothes for Heroes,” and “Destroy” and featuring questionably punk music and videos, the show actually focuses on how the punk aesthetic was coopted by Madison Ave. and the fashion industry; most of the clothing on view is from high-end designers that costs a pretty penny, made in the twenty-first century, long after the punk invasion of the 1970s. Joan Jett might be a punk goddess, but seeing an image of her wearing Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue in March 2011 makes us want to reevaluate her bad reputation. And the re-creation of the CBGB bathroom — well, let’s just say we can’t imagine that the Ramones and Hilly Kristal would be too happy about that. Anyway, “Punk: Chaos to Couture” runs through Wednesday, August 14, but there is absolutely no reason for you to run over to the Met to catch it before it goes away, hopefully never to be seen or heard from again.

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