Gothic Museum Exhibits! MMA and the British Library

Oh, how the Lady of the Manners wishes she could get to NYC sometime between now and February 1, 2015! The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire looks to be utterly amazing, and the Lady of the Manners would love to spend a few hours examining the details of the gorgeous, funereal artifacts and fashion.

The exhibition explores the aesthetic development and cultural implications of mourning fashions of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Approximately 30 ensembles, many of which are being exhibited for the first time, reveal the impact of high-fashion standards on the sartorial dictates of bereavement rituals as they evolved over a century.

Alas, a trip to NYC is not in the cards for the Lady of the Manners right now. And even if it was, the nice staff at MMA would probably not be thrilled about the Lady of the Manners getting as close as she possibly could to the gowns and accessories, and continually reaching out toward them. But oh! The fabrics! The veils!

However, for all of us who aren’t able to go see the exhibit in person, there are goodies to console ourselves with! Because the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store has a special selection of jewelry, books, and accessories to go along with the Death Becomes Her collection. Look! Look at the jet-bejeweled pretties!

Memento Cross Pendant, $165 US.

Memento Cameo Pin, $95 US.

Those are going to be mentioned in the Lady of the Manners’ annual holiday letter to Sandy Claws, oh yes.

Of course, the Lady of the Manners is also full of picturesque woe and despair that there isn’t a trip to London in her future. Partially because, yes, London is one of the Lady of the Manners’ favorite cities, but also because the British Library has the Terror and Wonder: the Gothic Imagination exhibit running through January 2015.

From Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and Alexander McQueen, via posters, books, films – and even a vampire-slaying kit – experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives.
Beginning with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Gothic literature challenged the moral certainties of the 18th century. By exploring the dark romance of the medieval past with its castles and abbeys, its wild landscapes and fascination with the supernatural, Gothic writers placed imagination firmly at the heart of their work – and our culture.

Pages from Bram Stoker’s manuscript for the original stage play adaptation of Dracula! Horace Walpole’s personal copy of The Castle of Otranto! Left to her own devices, the Lady of the Manners would camp out in the exhibit for a few days, occasionally squeaking with glee.

The array of merchandise the British Library store is offering for this exhibit is delightful, and the idea of being able to purchase black lipstick or absinthe makes her clap her hands in joy. Alas, instead of wandering the library, the Lady of the Manners will just have to console herself with the book about the exhibit.

Have any of you lucky Snarklings visited either exhibit? Or have plans to? Please, leave a comment and Tell All!

6 Responses to “Gothic Museum Exhibits! MMA and the British Library”

  1. Alyson Says:

    You know that I have and I thought of you the whole time!

  2. Fal Says:

    Hey, just so you know, you’ve got MOMA listed as the location for the exhibit in a few places. However, MoMA stands for “Museum of Modern Art,” and is separate from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Very different-looking building too… much prefer the Met, myself.

    … and despite living just outside and working IN NYC, I haven’t been to Death Becomes Her yet. I’m waiting for a friend who lives upstate to come down and go see it with me, but I’m just about to snap and go see it all by myself!!!!!

  3. Rachael Says:

    I live in London so will definitely be going to the British library to see the exhibit. I’m really looking forward to it!

  4. Jillian Rueter Says:

    How delightfully melancholy! Thank you for this beautiful post.

  5. Mila Says:

    I got to see the exhibit at the British Library! Our London friend sent us the link and we planned part of a day around it. Unfortunately, we had limited time and got a little bogged down in the antique books–but hey, antique books–and had to rush through the film and modern literature half. But it was still great fun, and we enjoyed it, and the last room with photos of Whitby goths was truly adorable. And it was nice to find out that ghost stories occasionally get recognized by book award committees. I’ll need to get the catalog too, for a deeper examination.

  6. Julia OC Says:

    Ooh, I went to the Death Becomes Her exhibit over winter break and it was amazing! My favorite part, apart from the beautiful outfits of course, was that they had snippets of letters people had written about death and mourning projected onto the walls. It was fascinating. Also, they had so many great things in the gift shop. I wound up buying a copy of Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies alphabet book and it is glorious.

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