*All opinions here are my own. I may derive a commission from this post.*
You know what?
I’m gonna share a secret.
I am over the Met Gala. I am also over the new Louis Vuitton collection.
Art isn’t an accessory. Since the rise of nerdy-ness, celebrities & fashion powerhouses alike are trying to seem more cultured. The key word here is seem.
I studied Art History in college… I have taken courses on restoration, studio art, and spent countless hours memorizing titles, dates, and mediums of historical works of art.
Not only do I have enormous respect for the power of art, but I also respect that in many cases it is a physical substance: paint, paper, cloth, stone. When you have actually spent time repairing damaged pieces of art, you realize that smoking in a museum is actually insane.
If you cared about art at all- especially some of the world’s masterpieces housed in the MET- you would never seek to damage them. That’s what smoke does- it destroys art. In fact, the celebrities also spilled drinks and almost set off the fire alarms as well which could have caused further damage to the ancient and historically significant works housed in the museum.
Let’s be honest, this event is about publicity. It’s a see/ be seen and a mark that you’ve hit the A-list. When I see models on Instagram stories complaining about not being invited… It makes me sad because I know that they’re missing the point. The point is to raise money for the arts. When instead, the art ends up as best a side note and at worst, disrespected to the point of physical damage.
Now, as bad as that is, Louis Vuitton is worse.
LV x Koons flies in the face of everything the art world holds dear. They take credit for famous art works. I don’t really care who’s permission they got to use the Mona Lisa on a handbag- it wasn’t Leonardo DaVinci’s permission. It may be legal, but it’s not tasteful. These creations jive perfectly with the idea of appearing to be cultured… Meanwhile, anyone who is actually cultured would never go near one.
Working with contemporary artists to create fashion pieces is a beautiful thing. It’s where art meets functionality and I think that type of collaboration is wonderful.
But when Leonardo DaVinci sat down to depict a widow in mourning with a curious expression… He put his heart and soul into it. He carried that piece with him everywhere he went for the later parts of his life. His hours of toil created a work of genius and mystery with which the world has remained curious for centuries. It is almost painful to see it reduced to an accessory when in reality, it is a piece of a master’s heart.
And they didn’t just exploit Leonardo DaVinci, they also used works done by other masters: Rubens, Fragonard, Van Gough, and Titian.
While Louis Vuitton has access to today’s most talented designers, they did not do anything creative here. It’s lazy. At the museum gift shop, you can purchase your own version for a fraction of the price. To me, LV x Koons feels like plagiarism, exploitation, and a tacky cliché rolled in to an enormous price tag for an already established fashion powerhouse. The bags sell for up to 4k. Yuck.
But it’s not just the fashion world.
It’s your average chick on Instagram… WHY are you posing against that mural? Is it “on brand” for your hipster alter-ego? Does it match your leather jacket?
I wish that people would stop to think before posing in front of street art they don’t know anything about and think… Does this speak to me? What does it say? Why is it important for me to appear like I understand this work of art?
And instead of posting a caption full of emojis and hashtags, maybe instead, post something real about your reaction to the piece. Because it’s someone’s hard work you’re exploiting for your own benefit… and I hope The Met Gala coordinators and Louis Vuitton can see that’s what they have done as well.
If you would like to ACTUALLY learn about art (… and it’s power…) I HIGHLY recommend this series by Simon Schama. He walks you through a number of masters’ work in a way that is interesting and pairs great with a big glass of red wine & popcorn on a low key night 🙂
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