Live in or near Boston? Good! You’ve just got time to scoot over to the Museum of Fine Arts to see Think Pink before it closes on May 26. It’s a terrific little exhibition that explores our changing cultural and artistic relationship with the color pink; Yours Truly wrote a piece about it for SJ Chronicle.
Sound like a cute, girls-only kinda thing? Uh-uh. Tour this small gallery and you’ll come away with a new understanding of how we associate meaning with colors—and how those associations change over time. For example, until the 1920s, people considered pink the proper color for BOYS! Yes indeed. Pink, we thought—how robust! Perfect for manly types. And blue, very delicate; just the thing for little girls. Saying “No way!” to yourself? Well then, have a look at this 18th century man’s suit. (I agree: Whoo. But I’d go with a neutral shoe, wouldn’t you?)
And there’s more. Curator Michelle Finamore’s witty and intelligent exhibit notes also touch on the language of flowers; the advances in industrial technology (think dyes) that gave the world never-seen-before colors (Elsa Schiaparelli’s “shocking pink,” for one–and it really was shocking back in 1937); and the ways that graphic artists, filmmakers (Audrey Hepburn’s “Funny Face” in the 1950s helped girl-ify pink) toy makers, jewelers, and, of course, fashion designers have responded to the changing fortunes of pink.
Speaking of fashion, you’ll see plenty of absolutely gorgeous gowns from the collection of Evelyn Lauder, the lady who associated pink with the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. One of my favorites: The sleeveless black-and-pink Schiaparelli gown with its ingeniously streamlined take on the 19th Century bustle.