“Camp” at The Met

“Camp is a kind of love, love for human nature.”
—Susan Sontag (1933–2004)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Ensembles by Ashish (British, 2017-18)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute has put together a special exhibition, entitled, “Camp, Notes on Fashion.” This popular exhibit showcases more than 250 objects, dating from the 17th century to the present. Here is a small sampling of what is in store for you. On view until September 8th, this exhibit is a fun afternoon at one of the greatest museums of the world.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Headpiece, Giles Deacon & Stephen Jones, 2012.

Camp “is the heroism of people not called upon to be heroes.”
—Philip Core (1951–1989, American writer)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Dresses, House of Moschino, 1990–91

“Camp people look back on … Versailles as a sort of camp Eden, a self-enclosed world devoted to divertissements, to dressing-up showing off, and scandal.”
—Mark Booth (1955–present, British author)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Headpiece of ostrich feathers, House of Schiaparelli, 2018–19

“The connoisseur of camp [finds pleasure] in the coarsest, commonest pleasures, in the art of the masses.”
—Susan Sontag

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Left, ensemble by Vivienne Westwood, 1987–88; right, ensemble by John Galiano, 1984

“Camp keeps the faculty of wonder alive. It combines intellectual virtuosity with childlike freshness of vision.”
—Mark Booth (1954–present, British author)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

“Smiley Face” headpiece, Philip Treacy, 2013

“Camp is happiness.”
—Christopher Isherwood (1904–1986, English novelist)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Left, ensemble by Walter van Beirendonck, 2009; right, ensemble by Vivienne Westwood, 1989–90.

“Camp can rise to the occasion.”
—Caryl Flinn (1957–present, American professor)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Brazilian turban, 1940.

“Camp [is] Carmen Miranda.”
—Philip Core

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Left, ensemble by Manish Arora, 2009; right, ensemble by Christian Francis Roth, 1997.

“The camp attitude is a mode of perception whereby artifacts become the object of an arrested, or fetishistic, scrutiny. It does not so much ‘see everything in quotation marks’ as in parentheses; it is a solvent of context.”
—Andrew Britton (1981–2008, British spy novelist)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Necklace by Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, 1983–84.

“Maturity, it infers, must not be taken seriously. ‘Experience is a fraud,’ says the Spirit of Camp, ‘Strive for innocence.’”
—Mark Booth

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Left, dress by Jeremy Scott, 2011.

Camp “salvages material otherwise doomed to oblivion.”
—Gillo Dorfles (1910–2018, Italian art critic)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

Handbag, by Rossella Jardini for House of Moschino, 2000–01.

“Camp is a great jewel, 22 carats.”
—Kenneth Williams (1926–1988, English actor)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met, Special Exhibitions, Camp, Clothing, Clothes, Art

“Cauliflower” headpiece by Deirdre Hawken, 2013.

Camp is “a third stream of taste, that encompasses the curious attraction that everyone—to some degree at least—has for the bizarre, the unnatural, the artificial and the blatantly outrageous.”
—Thomas Meehan (1929–2017, American playwright)

Read our other articles about art to see at The Met.
‘Standing Lincoln’ at The Met
The Temple of Dendur: Colorful Again
George Washington as Roman Emperor
Betrothed Dancers in Stained Glass
From the Closet of a Countess
‘Supper,’ a Feast for the Eyes
Safe Haven in the Face of Destruction
In Washington’s Good Company
What is Black and White and on the Wall?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in Central Park. Our guided walking tour of the Park goes as far as The Met. What is the oldest man-made object in the Park opposite to The Met. Take the Tour; Know More!

ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT, EXCEPT CREDITED QUOTES, © THE AUTHOR 2019

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