By DeeDee Hughes, Staff Writer
I’m new to Boston and a freshman painting major here at BU. “The Art Equation is a column all about exploring and breaking down Boston’s vast art scene. Join me as I discuss museum exhibits, find local artists, and ponder all of the bizarre intricacies of the fine art world.
Art museums can be really boring. I’m an art major, and even I hate going sometimes. There is modern art that is impossible to understand, overwhelming amounts of information on pieces of art no one has ever heard of, and a uniform, impenetrable silence.
However, museums also show exhibits that cross industry lines and explore worlds that are not traditionally thought of as art. A prime example at the moment is one of the Museum of Fine Arts’s latest exhibits, Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen.
This quaint and quirky exhibit opened Sept. 9 and will continue to be on display through March 2015. It consists of Hollywood actresses’ movie costumes and jewelry in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as photographs of many starlets such as Gloria Swanson and Mae West. Indeed, the exhibit is full of big names. Famous photographer Edward Steichen took many of the photographs on display and Coco Chanel is one of the featured designers.
While the exhibit is only a single room and quite difficult to locate among the vast array of galleries, it’s transformative. Unlike the rest of the well-lit and airy museum, the room is dark and cavernous. There is a black and white film rolling in the back, along with soft, jazzy music.
The displays seem to disappear into the darkness, letting the viewer slowly meander their way through a room full of sparkling dresses and jewels dripping with luxury. A step into the gallery is very much like a step back in time, and a step farther away from the traditional idea of visual art.
Instead of focusing on a single medium or meaning, the exhibit ranges from fashion to film to photography. It touches on various issues in the ’30s and ’40s. The introduction comments briefly on the beginning of World War II as well as the evolution of the film industry, which put an end to the high glamour of the clothes and jewelry displayed in the gallery. However, the goal of the exhibit is to explore the rise and height of designers and fashion in Hollywood, and it does so quite thoroughly.
So, whether you are a history buff, an artist, a fashionista, or simply a lover of sparkly things, go check it out. It is an exhibit that is successfully conceptualized and executed for a wide range of audiences. If you really love it, the museum offers weekly discussions with the curators all throughout October.