20 Aug
Mon / 2012

Inside the MFAH
Mirror, Mirror

What does it take for you to dress your best? What makes you reach into the back of your closet for those epic combat boots or your favorite pair of neon leggings? Nothing can push you to the edge of fashion faster than a friend who is also feeling fabulous.

A number of the photographs in the exhibition Public Dress capture style in duplicate. From Weegee’s staged encounter with the sumptuously dressed Mrs. George Washington Kavenaugh and Lady Decies at the Metropolitan Opera in 1943 to Andrew Burmeister’s candid shot of two menswear models off the runway in 2005, photographers acknowledge the visual power of pairs. These pairs offer a compositional symmetry that pulls the viewers in, allowing them to start their own of list of similarities and differences and enticing them to imagine more about the conditions under which the picture was made. The pairings in Public Dress spark questions like: Did the ladies of Geoff Winningham’s photograph Lamé Pants shop together? Were they an uncommon sight at the 1972 Houston Rodeo or the real life basis for the costumes in Urban Cowboy?

Robert Frank’s suit-clad London bankers of 1951 provide a striking contrast to the two women highlighted in Garry Winogrand’s 1980 photograph from the series Women are Beautiful. Both duos are dressed in nearly identical uniform. Each engaged in an aspect of their respective daily routines—be it sharing a cigar or a walk through the park—their attire becomes more visually compelling because of how strictly they mimic the style of the person at their side. These photographs, along with the others presented in Public Dress, heighten awareness of the image you compose in the mirror every day and may inspire you to do a double take the next time you find yourself wearing the same shirt or earrings as your best friend.


Left: Robert Frank, London​, 1951, gelatin silver print, the MFAH, gift of P/K Associates. © Robert Frank; courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Right: Garry Winogrand, Untitled,​ from the series Women are Beautiful​, 1980, gelatin silver print, the MFAH, gift of Marc Freidus. © Estate of Garry Winogrand



Recent Posts

Post Archives

Tag Cloud

18th-century 1970s 19th-century 35mm 5womenartists abstract activity african-art a-history-of-photography akan american american-art ancient and angelica-kauffmann animals animation anna-atkins antiquities architecture archive armchair-travel art art-books artist artists art-of-the-islamic-worlds arts-of-india azaleas bayou bayou-bend bayou-bend-christmas-village bend bestowing-beauty biblical biography book british british-arrows british-art broadways-amazing-mastersons buffalo-bayou-park-cistern campus campus-redevelopment cannes carroll-sterling-masterson chair chef chinese-art christmas christmas-fun cinema cisternrain classic classic-films cocktail coffee collection color colors-of-the-oasis community concrete conservation contemporary-art contemporary-arts-museum-houston contemporary-film contesting-modernity countess cullen-sculpture-garden culture curator curators-picks dance decorative-arts degas degas-a-new-vision design digital documentary documents dont-blink-robert-frank drama drawings dutch-art electronic elizabeth-i england e-records exhibition exhibitions eye-on-houston family family-programs fashion fashion-fusion feast festival fiber-arts field film films flowers food francis-bacon free french french-art fun future futuremfah gainsborough gallery gallery-interpretation garden garden-paradise gardens george-iii glassell glassell-school-of-art google-art-project google-arts-and-culture habsburg-splendor-masterpieces-from-viennas-imperial-collections halloween happyhour happy-new-year harris-masterson-iii henry-viii hirsch-library history history-book-club holiday holiday-fun hollywood home homemfah homeso-different-so-appealing houston howe hurricane-harvey icaa ikat ima-hogg impressionism indian-art instagram interactive ipads islamic italian japanese-art john-biggers joshua-reynolds kenwood kids king kodak kusama latin latin-america latin-american latin-american-art latino-art latin-wave latinx laura-israel learning-and-interpretation love mail manet maria-fernanda-cardoso mastersons mayan-art media meditation mending-craft-and-community mexican-film mexican-modernism mexico mfa-cafe mfah mfah-book-club mfah-films mfah-in-the-community mfah-staff modern modernism movie movies movies-houstonians-love mueck mueckmfah museum museum-education music native-american-art new nhprc now-on-view now-playing organic oscar-de-la-renta oscars painting paintings paint-the-revolution paris paul-thomas-anderson peacock-in-the-desert-the-royal-arts-of-jodhpur-india peacockmfah persian persian-art photographs photography picasso portrait portraits pose prints prints-and-drawings programs queen-victoria radical rebel-jester-mystic-poet recipe rembrandt-van-rijn rienzi ron-mueck rothko sampler school sculpted-in-steel sculpture self-portrait shadow-monsters shepherds short-films slow-art-day snail snapshot spain spanish-art spring style summer technology texas textiles thanksgiving the the-al-sabah-collection theater the-glamour-and-romance-of-oscar-de-la-renta trivia tudors-to-windsors valentines-day venezuelan-art video vincent-van-gogh vincent-van-gogh-his-life-in-art virtual wagner-garden-carpet watercolor winter women-filmmakers womens-history-month works-on-paper yoga zoom