Photos by G. Various Artists.
There are good things and bad things about the much hyped “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” exhibit at The Met in New York. The good things first. It’s nice to see punk style finally getting its due in a museum setting. So much of DIY (do it yourself) culture has been assimilated into the mainstream, this exhibit finally legitimizes punkers into the world of the art elite. Like the 2011 “Savage Beauty” by Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Punk” is laid out beautifully with mannequins lining the sides and middle of each room with one cool design after another. The exhibit has many vintage punk outfits designed by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren and some beautiful punk inspired couture from McQueen, Versace, Givenchy and many top designers of today.
What is disappointing is that as New York was (and still is) such a mecca for the punk scene, you’d have thought there would be accompanying photos and videos to try and give the viewer a real taste of the punk scene. Instead, there is a “Disney-fied” recreation of the CBGB bathroom, which gets an A for effort but was in no way as disgusting and vile as the actual bathroom was. Not very punk! Also disappointing was the focus on couture instead of punk ephemera. Sure, it was great seeing a pair of destroyed jeans by a top designer but let’s face it, paying thousands of dollars for that look is anything but punk!
The Met Gala Ball took place recently and a who’s who of celebrities and rockers were in attendance. After seeing this exhibit in person, you realize that all those celebrity stylists should really be fired, immediately because clearly they have no clue about what punk is! The outfits they dressed their celebs in missed the mark so bad it’s not even funny. Madonna was about the only person who got it right. However, in some strange way, it’s fitting because the Punk exhibit misses the mark too. What could have been the definitive story of punk left me with a bad case of the blues.
If you are in the area, the exhibit is definitely worth a quick browse, but it’s not something you should go out of your way to see.
“Punk: Chaos To Couture” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York runs through August 14, 2013.