Frist Art Museum Presents Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous

The Frist Art Museum showcases the creative partnership between fashion designer Alexander McQueen and photographer Ann Ray.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 3, 2024)—The Frist Art Museum presents Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous, a showcase of garments and photographs that explores the creative partnership between the late British fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, and his trusted friend, French photographer Ann Ray. Organized by Barrett Barrera Projects, the exhibition will be on view in the Frist’s Ingram Gallery from May 30 through August 25, 2024.

The exhibition features 60 dress objects, including ready-to-wear, one-off samples, and examples of haute couture that span the arc of McQueen’s career, and 65 photographs hand-selected by Ray from her archive of over 32,000 negatives. Included among the dress objects are 10 garments that McQueen gifted to Ray, as well as 13 important garments that are exclusive to the Frist’s presentation, all of which are sourced from Barrett Barrera Projects in St. Louis, Missouri, the world’s largest private collection of McQueen’s works.

To tell the story of both artists, the exhibition is organized into five sections of McQueen’s garments paired alongside 12 thematic sections of photography selected and organized by Ray herself. Visitors will learn about how the two artists’ creative partnership began shortly after McQueen’s appointment in 1996 as creative director at Givenchy, one of Paris’ oldest and most storied couture houses, at age 27.

The exhibition also traces McQueen’s career moves, iconic collections and runway shows, and final years. McQueen graduated from the prestigious fashion program at Central Saint Martins in 1992, and with the support of the socialite and fashion editor Isabella Blow, founded his eponymous label, and honed his talents as a storyteller in early collections on a shoestring budget.

The final chapter of McQueen’s brief but remarkable life was marked by great loss with the deaths of his friend and supporter, Isabella Blow, in 2007, and his beloved mother, Joyce McQueen, in early 2010. Yet his resilient creative drive continued in a tribute to Isabella Blow. Spring/summer 2008’s La Dame Bleue saw McQueen return to his roots through the craft of tailoring and he and Blow’s mutual love of birds.

Lee Alexander McQueen died by suicide on February 11, 2010. As the world reeled from the loss of a singular creative mind, the twenty-first-century global fashion machine that McQueen had helped create, but at times also felt exploited by, continued to grow and evolve. The Alexander McQueen label, under the creative direction of trusted confidant and former head of womenswear Sarah Burton until recently and now Séan McGirr, remains one of the world’s most sought-after luxury brands.

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