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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senior Fashion Show Feature: Sara Lopez

The College of Design was all about fashion on Saturday, February 18. Eleven seniors showcased their work in the 44th Annual Apparel Design Senior Fashion Show in the Rapson Hall atrium. Packed with over 1,000 attendees, the atrium buzzed with excitement as each model stepped on the runway. From flirty to structured, whimsical to futuristic, each designer applied their perspective from four to six looks.

sara.jpgDesigner Sara Lopez spoke to us about her pieces, and how she used GMD's collection to influence her work. Lopez's collection shows a structural and proportional twist on the men's suit. Lopez "explored the suit through a new lens: stepping into the suit not knowing its orientation and discovering new silhouettes while exaggerating proportions, scale, and restriction."

Lopez explored 20th century suits from GMD's collection from designers such as Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Hugo Boss and other no-name brands. While inspecting each suit, Lopez says she "found inspiration in the details such as how many buttons they used, topstitching or no topstitching, inside construction, facing design, the number of inside welt pockets, the number of outside welt pockets, vents, bound button holes or not, tag design and placement, closures, color of lining, mock button holes, hems, and trouser construction." She truly left no hem unturned!

Lopez's eye for detail and construction is clear in each of her designs. Although each piece feels playful regarding proportion and asymmetry, the highly structured aesthetic and the white and beige pallet keep them grounded and wearable. We are proud to have GMD's collection serve as inspiration for these fresh artistic pieces, and we look forward to seeing more from Lopez in the future as she continues her studies in London.

Now you can be inspired by and search GMD's collection from home!
Question for Sara Lopez? Contact her:
View photos from the fashion show

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By Jenny Parker: Goldstein Museum of Design Graduate Assistant,
MFA candidate in Graphic Design and Museum Studies

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Museum Studies Graduate Minor Moves to CDes and Gains a New Director: Lin Nelson-Mayson

This semester, I am excited to take on the new role of director of graduate studies of the U's museum studies graduate minor (MST). I will be following Gordon Murdock who led the program for nearly 20 years before retiring from the Bell Museum of Natural History in December. The MST program, an interdisciplinary program begun in 1989, is designed to supplement a student's major and has benefited students from anthropology, art history, design, architecture, biological sciences, history, education, and journalism.

The MST program provides a foundation in specific areas that are unique to museums - collections and their care, community and social roles, creating effective exhibitions, informal education and object-based learning, museum administration, and understanding audiences. It consists of two foundation courses and an internship at a museum, plus a directed study opportunity for PhD students. Internships are pursued at Twin Cities area museums, particularly those on the U campus - GMD, the Weisman Art Museum (WAM), and the Bell Museum of Natural History.

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In the article "Museum Studies at a Crossroads" in the January/February 2012 issue of Museum News, the American Association of Museums' magazine, the author states that museum studies alumni bring new knowledge and new ways to thinking to the field, benefiting thousands of cultural institutions. The U's MST program sees approximately 15 students complete the program annually, resulting in over 300 graduates over the life of the program that have gained this useful introduction to museums and added to the vitality and innovation of the field.

I look forward to working with the MST faculty and students on this program. Email me with your ideas about how MST can more effectively address issues of engaged museums in communities.

Lin Nelson-Mayson, GMD Director, DGS Museum Studies Graduate Minor

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Rose isn't Just a Rose

Although some may think of Valentine's Day as a "Hallmark™" holiday, it dates back over fifteen hundred years. A precise history of Valentine's Day is a bit hard to come by, but there appears to be general agreement that its origin can be attributed to a number of Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. Entwined with this Christian history are elements of polytheism. Aphrodite (or Venus) the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation, is strongly associated with fierce and covetous love. Her son Eros (or Cupid) is a central figure in contemporary Valentine's Day rituals, as is gifting someone with a dozen red roses.

The rose was sacred to Aphrodite. It is said that she was carrying a white rose to her dying lover, Adonis, when she stepped on a rose thorn. The thorn caused her to bleed upon the white petals, staining them red. The fullness of rose petals and sharpness of their thorns make them the ideal symbol of the often bittersweet nature of love.

The 1950s saw heavy use of floral patterns, especially in evening dresses. Less abstract than floral patterns of the 30s and 40s, the roses depicted on these dresses are highly articulated and set off by color contrast. The dress from the early twentieth century also uses a fabric with a detailed representation of a rose; however, the overlay of silver metallic thread creates a more understated effect.

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Silk dress, 1958, Paul Whitney, Gift of Mrs. Harvey Werner
Silk dress, 1950-1959, Karen Stark, Gift of Mrs. Jules Hannaford
Silk dress, 1918-1920, Gift of Kingsley H. Murphy Jr.

Search GMD's entire Collection Database now!

By Jean McElvain, PhD, Goldstein Museum of Design Assistant Curator

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Great Year in GMD's Research Center

Behind the scenes, in the depths of GMD's collection of almost 30,000 items, there are qualified staff members with gloves, carefully collecting and transporting objects to GMD's Research Center for the public to learn from. Averaging about one group visit per week in 2011, GMD's Research Center kept busy with wide array of outreach, not only to students taking classes in the College of Design, but students from St. Catherine's University, and Minneapolis Community and Technical College. We also received visits from members of the Alumni Association, community quilting and weaving groups, and many other organizations interested in object based learning opportunities.

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Some professors make it a point to visit GMD's Research Center each year. On December 8, 2011, the U of M Textile Analysis classes paid us a visit, and were challenged to identify weave and knit structures in garments. Assistant Curator Jean McElvain (pictured above left with students) finds that, "it is a good exercise because it increases their ability to identify things on the fly, outside of a lab setting." In their textile lab class, students use many techniques to identify fabric, from viewing yarns under a microscope to conducting a burn test. GMD's Research Center creates a unique environment where burning is not allowed, and threads cannot be pulled to view under a microscope; this environment allows students to apply what they have already learned in the Textile class, but only use their eyes to identify. One textile Teaching Assistant, Chad Sowers (pictured above right with students), finds the GMD Research Center experience very beneficial to students, and says, "They get excited when they get it right!"

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This year, the weave of a Bonnie Cashin wool cape (1970, Gift of Helen And Philip Sills) was particularly difficult for students to identify. Many textile classes use small swatches to identify fabrics, and they don't immediately think to look for such huge shifts in scale. This Cashin cape uses an oversized houndstooth pattern, requiring students to stand back and look from a distance.

At the heart of GMD, the Research Center makes our collection more visible and provides object based learning opportunities for groups who want to get up close and personal with GMD. The Research Center is not the only way to get closer to GMD, learn more about our membership, some levels get a private tour for 2 of the collection! Already a member? Donate today and help GMD continue working with the community through object based learning in our Research Center. You can also learn from a distance by searching GMD's collection database.

By Jenny Parker: Goldstein Museum of Design Graduate Assistant, MFA candidate in Graphic Design and Museum Studies