High Fashion, High Art

An innovative upcoming exhibit at the RISD Museum


In April, the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design is bringing attention to one of the most iconic symbols of men’s fashion: the dandy. Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion is a unique exhibition, exploring the distinctive style and personality of these historical figures. In the 19th century, dandies were men who dressed and behaved as aristocrats, when they typically came from middle class upbringings. They defied the fashion standards set for them and embraced their creativity and individualism. The exhibition features some of the original dandies and their impact on male fashion.

Artist/Rebel/Dandy begins with a four-part introduction. One part, titled “Beau Brummell,” focuses on one of the original dandies who was considered a fashion leader during the 19th century. The introduction also includes “Sketches and Definitions” which touches upon images and definitions of dandies; “Crafting the Dandy,” centering in on the details that made up the distinct style; and “Relics,” to display garments and accessories of dandies.

The exhibition explores five themes: Historians, Connoisseurs, Revolutionaries, Romantics and Explorers. Artist/Rebel/Dandy examines these themes through the original dandies to modern day men’s fashion icons, such as Thom Browne, Waris Ahluwalia, W. E. B. Du Bois, Stephen Tennant and Motofumi Kogi. The exhibition displays how throughout time, men defied the norm and lived his life creatively and distinctively in his own fashion.

Artist/Rebel/Dandy will be open from April 28 to August 18. On April 26, there will be a book signing with André Leon Talley, a Brown university graduate, fashion icon and contributing editor at Vogue. Talley will make an appearance at the Museum Associates ‘The Dandy’ Gala later that evening to celebrate the opening of the exhibition with dinner, cocktails, music and dancing. Tickets for the Gala are $500 each. On April 27, RISD Museum Members can preview the exhibition before it opens to the public. Later on, there will be a Contemporary Dandy Discussion among accomplished designers, artists and writers to speak on the significance of their personal style. The opening day kicks off with a leisurely bicycle parade, called the Tweed Ride, through downtown Providence.


Starting March 15, the Museum of Art at RISD will host an exhibition titled Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. This exhibition focuses on around 80 lists, from grocery lists and packing lists to Pablo Picasso’s list of recommendations for his 1913 Armory show. Lists examines various ways that people organize their lives in various situations.

Some current exhibitions at the museum include RISD Business: Sassy Signs and Sculptures by Alejandro Diaz, demonstrating art as a form of entertainment through witty and comical signs. RISD Business will be open until June 9. Double-and-Add: Angela Bulloch, Anthony McCall, Haroon Mirza features three artists who investigate the transmission of information through electricity, RGB-light and algorithms. Double-and-Add is on view until June 30. The Festive City brings attention to some of the extravagant European festivals in the 16th to 18th centuries. The featured prints, many from the collection of Vincent Buonanno, display carnivals, religious celebrations and other festivities from that day. The Festive City can be viewed through July 14. Grisogorious Places: Edward Lear’s Travels contains various works by Edward Lear (1812-1888), a writer of children’s rhymes and a painter of landscapes. Some of his watercolor sketches are featured in the exhibit, displaying images of Europe, the Middle East, Egypt and the Mediterranean. Grisogorious Places: Edward Lear’s Travels is on view until May 19.

The RISD Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm and 10am to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, $5 for college students, and $3 for youths ages 5-18. There is free admission every Sunday from 10am to 5pm and the third Thursday every month from 5pm to 9pm 454-6500. 


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