What happens when your tour guide does not show up at the art museum? You become the beholder of the beauty on your own: Couturier art, painted art, creative food art and chocolate art.
When the guide did not show up, a group of us walked into the Musée d’Art moderne (MAM) and found Yves Saint Laurent’s couturier art and explored the MAM on our own to our own delight. After the ad-lib visit, we went downstairs to the Forest restaurant for creative cuisine and were surrounded by dancing forest art on the walls behind dangling branches in an imaginary forest. For dessert, two of us went foraging for chocolate and came upon more art: artisan chocolate from French departments at Roy Chocolats, including ganache from the Paris region and liquor-filled chocolates and cherries from the Lorraine region. Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton) wrote in 1878 that beauty is in eye of the beholder. Yes, we found the beauty to behold, by accident, at MAM and beyond.
Our tour would have covered the paintings between the two wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. Celebrating 60 years since Yves Saint Laurent’s first fashion show January 29, 1962, six museums are using his works of art to fit into their museum themes. Le musée d’Art moderne has arranged the dresses in front of the art of Matisse, Bonnard, Dufy, Buren, Fontana, de Chirico, etc. These artists inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s designs. He did not copy the painting on to the dress or outfit. He used the painting, the color, his vision as an illustration in the construction of the dress. The outfit’s lines and silhouettes stay alive and become their own art. We may not have had the guide, but we had the eyes to identify the beauty of the painting’s influence on the fashions.
One of the displays was not in front of an art piece, but isolated in a rounded corner. The silk satin dress on display representing a neon theme seemed to float as if it were an angel. As our small groups kept intersecting, we pondered which art work went with which outfit. Each of us saw a different influence. And then it depended if you were looking at the front of the outfit or from the back.
How to Visit Virtually
For some in our group, it was their first visit in decades to the museum and for others the first ever. The exhibit really makes the paintings come alive. There is a downloadable museum guide and layout map for your YSL visit (French and English). Or the press kit (in French) with more details.
To visit the museum’s permanent exhibits, the MAM application is available. Applications for several timed tours, including 11-14 years old (French and English).
Exhibition video on YouTube for the Musée d’Art moderne
Centre Pompidou video (captions in English)