Rodarte: States of Matter

March 4th – June 5th, 2011

MOCA Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) presents Rodarte: States of Matter, the first West Coast solo exhibition of the work of fashion and costume designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. Renowned for its expressive use of textiles, Rodarte creates unusual works through a highly elaborate and intensive processing and reconstruction of materials. Fabrics are often subjected to unusual, sometimes alchemical methods of alteration—dyed, stretched, stained, burned, or otherwise manipulated—before being reassembled as sculptural ready-to-wear. Materials are woven, knitted, or layered together as assemblages of plaid scraps, vinyl, cheesecloth, wool, cobweb, Swarovski crystals, macramé, leather, and more. Rodarte’s designs are inspired by sources uncommonly approached in fashion design—its Spring 2010 collection was based, in part, on the California condor. Other idiosyncratic influences include local landscapes, Japanese horror films, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, and the work of Gordon Matta Clark.

“We are very excited that MOCA will present the first museum exhibition of our work in Los Angeles,” said Kate Mulleavy. “The exhibition will explore the transitional states of garments and examine them as vessels without bodies,” said Laura Mulleavy.

“By removing the garments from the figure and creating an installation around them, the focus will be entirely on the dresses and tutus as singular sculptural objects rather than pieces that are reliant on their relationship to the human form,” said Associate Curator Rebecca Morse. “Their inherent narrative qualities will be revealed.”

The exhibition will feature more than 20 pieces from Rodarte’s Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Fall 2008 runway collections, and original ballet costumes designed by Rodarte for the feature film Black Swan. The selected works are largely achromatic, dominated by black-and-white motifs with occasional red accents, and will be installed in a series of interrelated vignettes, both static and in motion, displayed off-figure and portrayed as charged sculptural objects. The installation will present inanimate objects in a state of flux, or animation, signifying the temporary states that material can assume. Acclaimed environmental fashion designer and runway producer Alexandre de Betak, founder of Bureau Betak and a longtime collaborator of the Mulleavys, will contribute a dynamic exhibition design, including kinetic displays, dramatic lighting, and other theatrical elements.

“Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s work transcends traditional fashion concepts and redefines the purpose of garment design,” said MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch. “MOCA is pleased to present Rodarte’s work in an artistic context as we continue our commitment to sharing the talents of emerging artists for whom Los Angeles is a vital muse.”

Organized by MOCA Associate Curator Rebecca Morse, Rodarte: States of Matter will be on view from March 4–June 5, 2011, at MOCA Pacific Design Center.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy received their bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts from UC Berkeley in 2001. Following their graduations, they returned to their home in Pasadena and launched Rodarte in 2005. Since then, Kate and Laura have won numerous awards and accolades, including the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2009 and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion. Rodarte is the first fashion house to be awarded a United States Artists grant (2009) and the National Arts Awards’ Bill and Maria Bell Young Artist Award (2010). Last year, Kate and Laura had their first solo museum exhibition, Quicktake: Rodarte, at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. Kate and Laura were nominated for best costume design at the 16th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards for their work in Black Swan. In 2011, their first monograph, Rodarte, Catherine Opie, Alec Soth will be published by JRP/Ringier. Rodarte’s works are featured in the permanent collections of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

In the early 1990s, Alexandre de Betak founded Bureau Betak, a special events and fashion-show design and production company that operates worldwide from New York, Paris, and Shanghai. The Bureau has created shows and events for several clients including Christian Dior, John Galliano, Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, Moncler with Giambattista Valli, Jason Wu, Lacoste, Rodarte, Jill Sander, Diane Von Furstenberg, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Uniqlo, and others.

Alexandre de Betak also designs exhibitions and limited edition furniture and objects for the likes of Artcurial, Domeau Pérès, Swarovski, and more.

Rodarte: States of Matter is presented by Swarovski. Additional support is provided by Maria Arena Bell, Susan Casden, Carolyn Powers, Eugene Sadovoy, Christine Suppes, Jamie Tisch, and the City of West Hollywood. Generous support for MOCA Pacific Design Center is provided by Charles S. Cohen.

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Thank you to MOCA for this information!

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