Sunday, December 16, 2012

Explore: Mario Testino At The Museum Of Fine Arts

Over the past few years the Museum of Fine Arts has really stepped up their game. In addition to the new wing, the museum has brought in several incredible visiting exhibits - Chihuly, Avedon, Degas, Alex Katz and more. The most recent arrival is the photography of Mario Testino in an exhibit called "In Your Face." 

Last weekend my family was in town so I took Friday off of work to spend the day with them in the city. Weeks before their arrival I told them I wanted to take them to the Mario Testino exhibits and they were just as excited as me to explore.

When we arrived we noticed the museum has rebranded several spaces with the iconic Mario Testino photographs.

The exhibit was in the Gund Gallery, below the New American Cafe (where the green Chihuly icicle lives).

I learned something on the very first wall, which is that Mario is originally from Peru. I always thought he was British!

In the gallery space the walls had been painted a dark teal and each photograph was life size, placed on a mantel and back lit. I have to say, I hated this presentation. The dark wall made the room feel small and the way they placed the title cards down low on the mantel (instead of on the wall next to the piece)  made it so you had to walk directly up to the painting and look down to learn anything about it.

I also felt the sources of the work were quite repetitive. Most of the photographs were from American Vogue, British Vogue, Vanity Fair and V Magazine. I had seen many of them before. Additionally, many of his subjects were the same - Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour. Had the exhibit been arranged as "The ladies of Mario Testino" and then they grouped the photographs by subject (all the Kates together, all the Naomis together) I might have enjoyed it more.

As a warning, if you were thinking of taking a niece, nephew or other youngster, there are several nude photographs. You've been warned!

You are not allowed to take photos inside the exhibit, but I purchased a few postcards in the gift shop so I could show you a sampling.

I love this photo of Kate Winslet. She looks so elegant and refined.

Of all the Kate Moss photographs, this one was by far my favorite. I love her as the haute couture British soldier.

This photo of Kate is the face of the exhibit and has been on all the museum's marketing materials. They way her body and the light are reflected in the mirrors is pretty incredible.

When you exit the gallery you walk into the Mario Testino themed gift shop. I died over these vinyl tote bags and wallets. It's hard to see but they have expressions on them like "I'm a star" and "Chic, no?"

On our way to another exhibit (more on that in the next post) we saw Testino's second exhibit which featured shots of the British royal family. He got some wonderful candids of Prince William and Prince Harry. Prince William really was so cute as a teenager!

I hate to say it, but if you were planning a trip to the MFA just to see Mario Testino, skip it. The exhibit is poorly curated and a total let down.

1 comment:

  1. I actually WAS planning a visit to see this. maybe it won't be such a bad thing if I don't make it....bummer, though!

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