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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

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Metropolitan Museum of Art / New York / Art

This exhibition of work by Rei Kawakubo and her company Comme des Garçons was one of the most intellectually rigorous of Costume Institute shows at the Met. It was not a retrospective (Kawakubo only wanted pieces from her most recent collections, though she didn’t win on that), and it was not chronological. Subtitled “Art of the In-Between,” it was about the way Kawakubo designs for spaces that have no nomenclature. These spaces were captured in nine dualities, the unexplored territory between Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, etc. The gallery was white stucco, a strange bleached complex of square and circular niches, almost like a laboratory or a brain. Kawakubo is a conceptual artist who expresses herself in the language of fashion. She can sound incredibly pretentious. So it’s nice to have the Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton leading us through the show. —L.J.

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