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Museum of Fine Arts: Gender Bending Fashion Exhibit

  • 465 Huntington Avenue Boston, Massachusetts (map)

Since June, Aisha and I have been talking about going to this Gender Bending Fashion exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). Well, we finally made it, and it was worth the wait. I loved, loved, loved this exhibit! The neon lights, the genderless mannequins, the Gaga music, the fashion—ah, all of it!

The exhibit did a really great job exploring the history of gender-bending fashion through both well-known icons—like Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie—and more contemporary designers and people. A wall projected photographs and quotes from local Bostonians who regularly rock gender-bending attire.

It also explored how specific events and trends have contributed to shifting ideas about what makes male vs. female clothing. As someone who regularly feels frustrated and lost in both women’s and men’s sections of clothing stores, I left the exhibit feeling empowered and inspired to dress in whatever I please, gender be damned.

Other MFA exhibits we checked out included:

  • Hyman Bloom, who apparently enjoyed painting corpses, slaughtered animals, surgeries, and other grotesque and uncomfortable subjects. And squashes.

  • “Conservation in Action” – a behind-the-scenes look at restoring Buddhist sculptures. Where Aisha claimed that the temple smelled like Fig Newtons.

  • Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris – we had no idea that this was the final day of this months-long exhibit. And it was super busy. I admit I’d never heard of Toulouse-Lautrec but as we started going through, I was like, “I think this might be the Chat Noir guy” and I was very proud that I was right. This is not my style of art at all. But I did like learning about Loie Fuller and her luminescent dress dances.

From the Gender Bending Fashion exhibit program:

Separate the signal from the noise…

Hear your own ears. Cut the strings.

Be yourself. Only you. Walk.

Follow your own path…

Listen to your limbs.

Walk…Are there others watching you?

Who knows? Who cares…

There is only one of you. Only one.

— Tilda Swinton, from One Woman Show 2003

Earlier Event: August 3
Currier Museum of Art