Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Saecula saeculorum

Beat the crowds to the Cloisters part of the Met's summer blockbuster "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" - indeed, I often had rooms to myself! (Others were doubtless taking in the Members Preview at the Fifth Avenue Met.) The placement was tasteful once you get used to the idea that once sacred works in a place like the Met are just cultural objects shared with the general public, objects which fashion designers might be inspired by, engage in dialogue with or
- of course - desecrate. The Cloisters itself has a faux sacred air, but the ease with which it has been coopted as a setting for couture suggests this apparent sacredness extends as easily to secular luxury as to humble devotion. Fittingly (sic), a medley of sacred music, opera and film scores floats through this usually silent space. Like the Chinese Buddhas conscripted for the last big fashion blockbuster, the Christian figures here seem just to be gritting their teeth: this, too, shall pass.

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