Yes, Iowa! From September 19, 2014, through January 18, 2015, the stunning little Des Moines Art Center hosts “Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede,” a tribute to modern minimalist fashion designer (and Des Moines—yes, Des Moines!—native) Roy Halston Frowick, known to fashion simply as Halston, and his pal, equally modern but more maximal than minimal artist Andy Warhol (from Pittsburgh).
According to the Art Center’s recent newsletter, “Silver and Suede chronicles the decades-long friendship” between Halston and Warhol as well as “the similarities and intersections in their lives and careers, and the influences they had on each other.” You’ll get to see “art, fashion [including Jackie Kennedy’s iconic pink pillbox hat, which Halston designed], photography, video, and personal memorabilia” from their lives, careers, and wild times at Studio 54 in New York.
And you’ll get to see it all for free: The Des Moines Art Center never charges admission, which is pretty amazing, considering the quality of their collection (mostly contemporary art) and the beauty of their buildings and grounds, which The Style Sisters and I had the pleasure of visiting just this past June. We had decamped to Des Moines for a week of work during the day and fun (including lots of thrifting) during the late afternoon and early evening. Let me tell you, Paris Gray-Brown was in her glory the afternoon we visited the Art Center, lecturing all of us about the three 20th Century starchitects who each designed a major section of the museum at intervals of about 20 years: Eliel Saarinen, I.M. Pei, and Richard Meier.
Just a terrific exhibition would be plenty, but this diminutive powerhouse of a museum has decided to spread extra ganache on the gateau by hosting a week-long “art and fashion extravaganza.” They began on the 13th, but you have until the 20th to enjoy fashion installations by a passel of artists in the historic East Village (no, not that one, but very fine all the same); a luncheon, a dinner, and a preview party; a black-tie gala; and a late-night party to end the whole affair a la Studio 54. And the films, lectures, and short courses stretch into November.
You’ll have to pay relatively modest amounts for these extras, but you’ll be doing your little part to help the art center continue to offer education, outreach, and that free admission, which is a pretty swell thing at a time when other major museums (and this is a major museum, despite its small size and off-the-main-drag location) collect $25 bucks a pop.
And in what the museum most properly identifies as a “happy coincidence,” Project Runway’s Tim Gunn will be in town during the week, speaking (for FREE!) as part of Drake University’s Bucksbaum Lecture series. (It’s going to be streamed live starting at 7; they’ll be posting a link here.)
Des Moines is one sweet little city, replete with wonderful parks, bike paths, and bookstores; great thrift and consignment stores (more on that soon); terrific food (I’m personally still dreaming about the ribs at Woody’s Smokehouse, the world-class pork chop at Centro, the bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce at the Drake Diner); a clean, safe, walkable downtown complete with a river walk and a sculpture garden; and very friendly people.
If you can get to Des Moines any time, lucky you. And if you can get there in time to see “Silver and Suede,” lucky lucky you.
All photos copyright Elizabeth Nash 2014.
Categories: Been to a Museum Lately?
Tags: Andy Warhol, Bucksbaum Lecture Series, Centro, Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center, Drake Diner, Drake University, Elliel Saarinen, Halston, I.M. Pei, Iowa, Jackie Kennedy, Pink Pillbox Hat, Richard Meier, Studio 54, Tim Gunn, Woody's Smokehouse