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‘Art of the Character’: Exhibition will celebrate Glenn Close costume collection

For Immediate Release Sep 14, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – An exhibition showcasing costumes from some of Glenn Close’s most iconic roles will be on display starting May 6 at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University.

“The Art of the Character: Highlights from the Glenn Close Costume Collection” will be presented in partnership with the Sage Fashion Collection in the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. The exhibition will be on view May 6 to Nov. 14, 2021, in the Eskenazi Museum’s Featured Exhibition Gallery.

Glenn Close is surrounded by others in a scene from
Glenn Close as the Marquise de Merteuil in “Dangerous Liaisons,” 1988. Warner Bros.Allstar Picture Library Ltd./Alamy stock photo

The eight-time Academy Award-nominated and three-time Emmy- and Tony-winning actress donated her collection of more than 800 pieces and other items to the Eskenazi School in 2017. The collection spans Close’s career through film, television and theater, and it includes pieces from some of her most iconic performances, such as roles in “Fatal Attraction,” “Dangerous Liaisons” and “101 Dalmatians.” The collection is a valuable resource for students and faculty that enhances learning in a variety of studies, including theater, merchandising and design.

“All my costumes are the product of an informed, passionate collaboration,” Close said. “I’d like students and visitors to understand the connection between character and costume. I’d like them to be amazed by the artistry. And I’d like them to gain an insight into the creative process, which is basically the thing that keeps any artist’s soul alive: the actual process.”

Through a selection of costumes from the collection, the exhibition will explore the art of developing a character with a focus on the creativity and skills of the designers and makers, as well as the collaborative process between Close and the artists who help bring her characters to life. Featuring the work of award-winning costume designers – including Anthony Powell (“101” and “102 Dalmatians”), Ann Roth (“The Stepford Wives”) and James Acheson (“Dangerous Liaisons”) – the exhibition will include clothing and accessories that Close carefully collected from the beginning of her career. It will also showcase the artistry and handcraft of makers such as Barbara Matera and Katherine Marshall.

Close’s relationship with Indiana University began in 2013 through the national nonprofit organization Bring Change 2 Mind, which Close founded to destigmatize mental illness.

A fully illustrated exhibition catalog, published by Scala Arts Publishers, will accompany the exhibition. Contributors include Heather Milam, professor of practice in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at IU; Jennifer E. Maher, clinical lecturer and director of undergraduate studies at IU; Heather Akou, associate professor of fashion design and director of the Sage Fashion Collection at IU; and Linda Pisano, chair of the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance and professor of costume design.

Support for the exhibition and catalog were provided in part by the Indiana University Foundation Well House Society, the IU Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, the Office of the Bicentennial at Indiana University, and Kimberly and John Simpson.

The exhibition is co-curated by Kelly Richardson, curator of the Sage Fashion Collection, and Galina Olmsted, assistant curator of European and American art at the Eskenazi Museum of Art.

What they’re saying

“The IU Eskenazi Museum of Art is pleased to partner with the Sage Fashion Collection at the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design to present this exhibition of selections from the Glenn Close Costume Collection. We are excited about this excellent opportunity for our teaching museum to connect IU students and our community with the wonderful collections on campus.” – David A. Brenneman, Wilma E. Kelley Director of the Eskenazi Museum of Art

“‘The Art of Character’ and the Glenn Close Costume Collection offer our Eskenazi School students, and students throughout Indiana University and our local communities, a unique educational opportunity to learn about the importance of costume design in the development of a character, and its role in theater and cinema. Glenn’s costumes are exceptional in design aesthetics and quality of construction. They are excellent resources that our students will learn from long into the future.” – Peg Faimon, founding dean of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design

“Indiana University is deeply honored to be the home of the Glenn Close Collection. Glenn’s dedication to design and to helping everyone see the transformational role that costumes play in bringing characters to life is what led her to choose an institution of higher education as the steward for her collection. This exhibition will give not only IU but the general public an unparalleled opportunity to learn about costume design and construction and to come to value the artistry and craftsmanship that created them.” – IU first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie

About the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art

Since its establishment on the Indiana University campus in 1941, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the most significant university art collections in the United States. The preeminent teaching museum’s internationally acclaimed collection includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history. The museum, which just completed a $30 million renovation of its acclaimed I.M. Pei-designed building, is dedicated to engaging students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni, and the wider public through the cultivation of new ideas and scholarship.

The Sage Fashion Collection at IU

Overseen by the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, the Sage Fashion Collection serves as an artistic and scholarly resource for students, professionals and the public. Its museum-quality holdings span more than 250 years and include a hands-on study collection used in classrooms and fashion design studios. Numbering more than 25,000 objects, the collection has a unique social history focus and consists of women’s, children’s and men’s clothing and accessories, as well as fashion publications and fashion plates, home sewing patterns, and sewing tools and equipment. In 2019, the Sage Fashion Collection was moved into a new dedicated state-of-the art storage facility on the IU Bloomington campus.

Media Contact

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art

Kristin Londergan

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