Art, opera, literature, writing, history of dress, interiors, travel, Paris . . . and more. By Susie Ralph.

Tag: #museum

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The Object and the Experience: What makes a memorable exhibition?

http://michaelhaynes.401studios.org/img/work/invitation_card_1971.jpg

http://michaelhaynes.401studios.org/img/work/invitation_card_1971.jpg

One of the first exhibitions I visited, as a young fashion student, was Fashion: an Anthology by Cecil Beaton, V&A, 1971-72. This was the first serious exhibition to be mounted in London on the subject of fashion and it made a lasting impression on me. Today the stakes are much higher and we have grown used to the idea of both the blockbuster exhibition and the study of dress as a legitimate academic pursuit. The more exhibitions I visit, the more susceptible I become to the influence of the environment in which they are presented.

Recently I saw four exhibitions in Paris:

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Sacred and Profane: the decadent decorative taste of Gabriele D’Annunzio

 

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Recently a string of coincidences led me to visit Il Vittorale, the estate of poet, aesthete and political activist Gabriele D’Annunzio. On hearing that I was going to Lake Garda, my brother lent me a guide book to Il Vittoriale, which he himself had chanced on. Knowing my decorative tastes and interests he thought I would appreciate it. I did. The following week Radio 4 broadcast an episode of The Pike, a new biography by Lucy Hughes-Hallett of the “Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War.” The next coincidence came during the last of a lecture series which I had been attending. It was on the theme of Decadence and Dr Allan Phillipson† explored D’Annunzio’s relationship with “The Divine Marchesa,” Luisa Casati.

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