Vogue announced the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s Spring 2019 Exhibition — camp. This will also be the theme of next year’s Met Gala.
Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp is the inspiration behind the exhibit.
Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, and Anna Wintour are co-chairs of the Gala.
Andrew Bolton, head curator of the Costume Institute, talked to Vogue about Sontag’s impression of camp. He said she described camp as ‘love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration… style at the expense of content… the triumph of the epicene style’.
In her essay, Sontag wrote: ‘Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others.’
She listed several things in which she found camp, such as Swan Lake, Flash Gordon comics, Mae West, Busby Berkeley movies, and more.
‘Camp’s disruptive nature and subversion of modern aesthetic values has often been trivialized, but this exhibition will reveal its profound influence on both high art and popular culture,’ commented Metropolitan director Max Hollein.
What will people wear?
Camp invokes specific imagery in people’s minds.
For Bolton, he goes back to Louis XIV, the flamboyant King of France from 1643 to 1715, and the word se camper. The word means to pose, typically in a bold, exaggerated manner.
He is also including a Roman sculpture of Hercules in the exhibit to show idea of a classical pose.
He also added a ‘key aspect of camp’ is ‘failed seriousness — not consciously trying to be camp’.
This year’s Met Gala, where the theme tied into Catholicism, included several queer moments, including Lena Waithe donning an epic rainbow cape.
The Met Gala takes place next year on 6 May.