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Walk the runway with Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion at the Cincinnati Art Museum

8/30/2017 12:00:00 AM

Download Press Release.

The exhibition is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Groninger Museum, The Netherlands. The exhibition was curated by Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art, and Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Groninger Museum.

CINCINNATI—Contemporary Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has won international acclaim as one of the most visionary designers of the twenty-first century. Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion at the Cincinnati Art Museum will showcase the artist’s avant-garde garments that combine art, engineering, architecture and science, October 13, 2017–January 7, 2018.

Van Herpen takes fashion into the future. Credited with introducing 3-D printing to fashion, the designer seamlessly blends high-tech processes with traditional handwork, creating imaginative sculptural garments from materials as diverse as metal umbrella ribs, industrial yarns, woven metal, leather strips and transparent acrylic. 

Her work has been worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Tilda Swinton, Beyoncé, and Bjork and has graced the runways of Amsterdam, London and Paris. During a runway show in 2015, she used robots to print a dress over Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie.

Transforming Fashion showcases 45 exquisite outfits from 15 collections and nine pairs of shoes. The exhibition also includes examples of van Herpen’s innovative materials, with examples available for visitors to touch. Visitors will learn about her partnerships with architects, designers, scientists and 3-D printing companies. Videos featuring an interview with van Herpen and footage from her six most recent runway shows will be featured.  

Each collection has its own tale to tell, often relating to van Herpen’s own free associations, futuristic fantasies or sensory perceptions. Guided by intuition in her creative process, she designs collections that are both wearable and sculptural.

While studying at the prestigious ArtEZ Institute of Arts, Arnhem, van Herpen held internships with Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. In 2011, at age 27, van Herpen became the youngest person to exhibit in the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, and in 2014 was awarded the highly prestigious ANDAM Award. Her designs are currently featured in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Her unique aesthetic has been lauded by TIME Magazine, InStyle and Women’s Wear Daily, among other notable publications. 

Van Herpen’s 2006 graduation collection Machine Jewellery demonstrated her interest in the visualization of elusive concepts and intangible elements and her inventiveness in material use and treatment. A year after graduating, she began designing womenswear collections under her own name. 

“For me, fashion is an expression of art that is very closely related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression,” says van Herpen of her artistic philosophy. 

“For each collection, Iris has a vision of what she wants to create and then problem-solves to make it a reality. That is what artists do. They are not bound by the perceived limits of their materials. Iris has often accomplished this through her collaborations with engineers, architects and artists in other fields. It is inspiring to see this very twenty-first century intersection of art and innovative technology in her work,” says Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles Cynthia Amnéus. 

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is presented at the Cincinnati Art Museum by PNC. Generous support is provided by The Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation. This exhibition will be on view in the Western & Southern Galleries (232 and 233). Organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Groninger Museum, The Netherlands, the exhibition was curated by Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art, and Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Groninger Museum. It debuted in 2015 at the High Museum of Art and was recently on view at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Special exhibition tickets required for admission. All ticketed exhibitions are free for museum members. Tickets can be purchased at cincinnatiartmuseum.org or at the museum. 

From October 2017 to March 2018, visitors to the museum’s Rosenthal Education Center can learn about Innovations in Art through fun and educational activities that highlight artwork from the museum’s permanent collection and Transforming Fashion. Visitors can explore a 10-foot-tall interactive video projection, create a Victorian-era animation, try out a camera obscura, see 3-D printing in action and learn about how portable paint inspired an artistic movement. 

Sarah Schleuning, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, will share insights and anecdotes about working with Dutch designer Iris van Herpen on the groundbreaking exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion on October 14. For tickets and for more information about this and other programs, visit cincinnatiartmuseum.org/transformingfashion

About the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is always free. The museum is open Tuesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. with extended Thursday hours until 8 p.m. cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

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