The Metropolitan Museum of Art's The Costume Institute will put together a spring 2019 exhibition titled, Camp: Notes on Fashion, which will explore the origins of camp’s exuberant aesthetic and how the sensibility evolved from a place of marginality to become an important influence on mainstream culture.
Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp’” provides the framework for the exhibition, which will examine how fashion designers have used their métier as a vehicle to engage with camp in a myriad of compelling, humorous, and sometimes incongruous ways. The exhibition is made possible by Gucci. Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.
“Camp’s disruptive nature and subversion of modern aesthetic values has often been trivialized, but this exhibition will reveal that it has had a profound influence on both high art and popular culture,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “By tracing its evolution and highlighting its defining elements, the show will embody the ironic sensibilities of this audacious style, challenge conventional understandings of beauty and taste, and establish the critical role that this important genre has played in the history of art and fashion.”
In celebration of the opening, The Costume Institute Benefit—also known as The Met Gala—will take place on Monday, May 6. The evening’s co-chairs will be Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, and Anna Wintour. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.
“Fashion is the most overt and enduring conduit of the camp aesthetic,” said Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “Effectively illustrating Sontag’s ‘Notes on “Camp,”’ the exhibition will advance creative and critical dialogue about the ongoing and ever-evolving impact of camp on fashion.”
The exhibition will feature approximately 200 objects, including womenswear and menswear, as well as sculptures, paintings, and drawings dating from the 17th century to the present.