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Lee Alexander McQueen at LACMA

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At LACMA, an inventive exhibition celebrates the legacy of the late fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen, pairing iconic looks from various McQueen collections with LACMA’s own. It’s an opportunity to not only dust off some objects from LACMA’s archives but to speak to the collaborative nature of McQueen’s practice, which looked to a diverse array of cultural histories for constant inspiration. 

On view beside a plentiful array of garments and runway show images from across McQueen’s oeuvre are objects ranging from intricately woven Tibetan tapestries, to Picasso’s bullfight drawings, to Dürer engravings from the 1500s and an Italian marble carving circa 1460. Even film clips, like the dance marathon from Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses Don’t They, are employed to highlight direct visual connections. 

To heighten the wellspring of inspiration and cultural sampling, two Dublab DJs created a soundtrack that accompanies the exhibition (bring headphones!), jumping from Vivaldi to Björk, Nina Simone, The Smiths, and McQueen’s “unofficial museLady Gaga. Though at times jarring, the genre-hopping audio clips reflect the huge array of creative influences from which McQueen pulled.

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Photo: Installation photograph, Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, April 24–October 9, 2022, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA