PaperCity Magazine

March 2020- Fort Worth

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34 I t's going to be an international fashion moment: This month, the Dallas Contemporary is the site of two blockbuster exhibitions. "Vivienne Westwood: Get a Life" is a punchy exploration of the radical design and social activism of the legendary English designer, while "Birds" explores the decades-long collaboration between famed Italian photographer Paolo Roversi and the avant-garde Japanese house Comme des Garçons (both exhibits run March 29 to August 23). The Westwood show will be an immersive installation that sprawls over 12,000 square feet — the largest exhibition space in the museum. It will include more than 60 objects, including fashion, photography, video, and graphics. The Roversi show — the first time his collaboration with Comme des Garçons has been the subject of an exhibition — will have more than 50 photographs, many of which have never been seen before. BY WILLIAM MIDDLETON FABULOUS RENEGADES Vivienne Westwood: "Get a Life" In a career that spans five decades, Dame Vivienne Westwood has proven herself to be one of the great forces in fashion history. She burst onto the scene in 1971, with a shop at 430 Kings Road in London rebranded as SEX in 1974. Working with her partner, music impresario Malcolm McLaren, Westwood was a key figure in the birth of Punk: bondage trousers, loose- knit mohair sweaters, and substantial safety pins. The shop was the birthplace of The Sex Pistols, led by Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious and managed by McLaren, and was a key spot for many in the Punk movement, including Siouxsie Sioux, Billy Idol, and Chrissie Hynde. Peter Doroshenko, executive director of the Dallas Contemporary, felt that the combination of Westwood's design, graphics, photography, and activism was the perfect blend for the Dallas Contemporary. Two earlier, smaller versions of Westwood's "Get a Life" have been mounted in Asia, in 2017 in Shanghai, and 2018 in Tokyo. But this will be the first time a show in North America has focused on Westwood's activism. "We really advocated to do this now," says Laurie Farrell, senior curator at the Dallas Contemporary. "I think that it is incredibly timely. Perhaps our lack of attention to the climate and the environment is putting us in a position where we can simply no longer look the other way — we have to engage with this. So, the show is about how Vivienne is using fashion as a vehicle to convey social urgency. And she just doesn't talk the talk — she is out there taking action." One installation the curator is particularly excited about involves a printed backdrop of a original artwork by Westwood in front of an ensemble she designed in 2007, entitled I am Expensive. "She is talking about the fashion industry and sustainability," Farrell says. "Choose well, buy less, make it last." Farrell is also struck by the sheer scale of what Westwood has accomplished. "The longevity of her career is something that aspiring designers and artists can learn from," she says. "Lines are blurring, and it is important to show how people are stepping out of those boxes and making really compelling work." The radical work of Vivienne Westwood and Paolo Roversi will ignite two exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary this spring — a moment in time that marches from punk to poetic. COURTESY JUERGEN TELLER; © VIVIENNE WESTWOOD Dame Vivienne Westwood

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