International Tour of Giorgio Armani

International Tour of GIORGIO ARMANI

Exploration of Seminal Designer's Vision, With More Than 400 Objects

Exhibition Designed by Acclaimed Visual and Theatrical Artist Robert Wilson

Giorgio Armani, a major exhibition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and presented in New York in 2000 and Bilbao in 2001, opens at the Neue Nationalgalerie on May 8 and remains on view through July 13, 2003. The exhibition, which was one of the highest attended shows in the Guggenheim's history, explores the career of the contemporary fashion designer, Giorgio Armani. The exhibition features over 400 garments and offers a thematic look at Armani and his development over the past three decades. This exhibition charts important aspects of Armani's artistic contribution and examine his cultural and sociological impact in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For the Berlin venue, the exhibition has been enriched by significant examples of the designer's recent work, as well as a new video component.

Armani is recognized as one of the most influential and iconic designers of the twentieth century. He has been universally credited with both radically changing the rules of fashion in our time and creating a timeless vision of modern dress. By removing excess ornament and translating traditional sportswear looks into business and evening wear, Armani developed the contemporary casual style that defines the modern wardrobe.

This exhibition is made possible by Mercedes-Benz.

Clothes from various periods that express significant motifs will be presented in thematic groupings. One cluster, for example, will emphasize the pivotal impact of Armani's designs on the modern, androgynous look. Highlights of this section include the designer's groundbreaking deconstructed jacket, which evolved into both soft, sensual suits for men and masculinized jackets for women. Other narrative groupings examine the influence of Eastern and North African cultures on Armani's work, as well as the designer's emphasis on the "non-color" palette, which has contributed to his reputation for elegant subtlety. Armani's pioneering involvement with the entertainment industry and, in particular, with the Academy Awards will be explored; the exhibition will include many of the evening ensembles he has created for Oscar ceremonies. Overall, the exhibition will provide an animated picture of Armani's creations and their significance within the cultural landscape.

More than 400 garments are presented in a kaleidoscopic display, evoking the richly layered narrative of Armani's oeuvre. Original sketches, photographs, and video presentations of historical material will round out this portrait, charting the evolution of Armani's designs from their early status as ideas to their carefully orchestrated presentation as finished work.

Exhibition Design
The installation will be designed by acclaimed visual artist and theater director Robert Wilson, who also designed the installation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain. Through a dramatic play of architectural elements, custom mannequins, music, and light, Wilson will transform the glass-enclosed main floor of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie into a spectacular setting in which to experience Armani's work. By creating distinctive environments for each of the thematic groupings, Mr. Wilson's design highlights the multifaceted aspect of Armani's vision.

Mr. Wilson has had retrospective exhibitions of his work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Additionally, he has mounted installations at the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Venice Biennale, and the Rotunda della Besana in Milan.

For the Giorgio Armani exhibition, Mr. Wilson is collaborating with Michael Galasso on the original music score, with A.J. Weissbard on the lighting design, and with Stephanie Engeln and Serge von Arx on the installation design.

This exhibition is organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in cooperation with the Kunstgewerbemuseum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. The exhibition is co-curated by Germano Celant, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Harold Koda, Curator-in-Charge at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Susan Cross, Associate Curator, and Karole Vail, Assistant Curator. Celant has organized a number of exhibitions that express his interest in the fusion of artistic languages, including The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968 (1994), which featured an extensive costume section, and Art/Fashion (1997), which examined the dialogue between the two disciplines. Koda has co-organized numerous significant costume exhibitions, including Haute Couture (1995) and Christian Dior (1996), Dress Rehearsal, 2001, Extreme Beauty, 2001 and Goddess, 2003 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A new and updated edition of the exhibition catalogue has been published by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The catalogue places Armani in the context of fashion history, highlights his innovative and trend-setting designs, and will examine his compelling influence on popular culture. In addition to the curators, contributors will include Donald Albrecht, Natalia Aspesi, Marshall Blonsky, Patrick McCarthy, Suzy Menkes, Caroline Rennolds Millbank, Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks, Valerie Steele, and Ingrid Sischy.

Exhibition Tour
Following its presentation at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Giorgio Armani will travel to London, Rome, Tokyo, and Las Vegas.

By supporting this exhibition, Mercedes-Benz is continuing its activities in the world of fashion. "We are proud to give our support to an exhibition of such a legendary designer as Giorgio Armani who shares our passion for design and style," says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President, Mercedes Car Group, "The design characteristics of Giorgio Armani's creations—timeless elegance, effortless grace, simplicity, and a fresh modern sensibility—are all qualities that Mercedes-Benz has admired and embraced for over 100 years."

April 10, 2003

Betsy Ennis
Director, Public Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Telephone: (212) 423-3842
Telefax: (212) 966-0924

Dr. Matthias Henkel
Leiter Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Anne Wagner-Junker

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Telephone: 49 (0) 30 266 2629
Telefax: 49 (0) 30 266 3025

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