Oklahoma City Museum of Art Celebrates How Costume Creates Character in Sketch to Screen: Art of Hollywood Costume Design

Oklahoma City – The Oklahoma City Museum of Art presents the exclusive exhibition Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design on view through August 15, 2010. This original exhibition, organized by the Museum, explores the vital artistic contribution of costume design throughout the history of the American motion picture industry.

Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design consists of more than 85 original garments and accessories worn in films by some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Charlton Heston and John Wayne. Film costumes worn by contemporary stars George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Russell Crowe, Kate Winslet, Robert DeNiro, Renee Zellweger and Johnny Depp are also represented in the exhibit.

Garments from various decades demonstrate the range of creativity and craftsmanship that costume designers use to construct film characters through clothing. The exhibition also tells this story through costume design sketches, wardrobe and film production photographs, documents, original film posters, and film clips. Sketch to Screen is organized in ten thematic sections relevant to both fashion and film conventions: Early Cinema, Femme Fatale, Gone with the Wind, Period Films, Women’s Fashion, Musicals, Westerns, Comic Books & Animation, A Man’s World, and Oscar® Winning Designs.

The exhibition highlights the contributions of the greatest costume designers from the Hollywood studio era, such as Walter Plunkett, Gilbert Adrian, Travis Banton, and Edith Head, while tracing the evolution of the often overlooked costume designer’s role in contemporary films. Visitors can learn about the little known costume design process beginning with the film script, research, design sketches, materials selection and garment production, fittings with the actors, and screen tests, which is an altogether different process from designing every-day fashion.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fourteen-week Sketch to Screen Film Series that celebrates many of the greatest examples of costume design in motion pictures. Titles include films with garments represented in the exhibition, such as Gone with the Wind, Funny Face, Dick Tracy, Atonement, Public Enemies, and Mamma Mia!. Film screenings will take place in the Museum’s 250-seat Noble Theater on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. through the duration of the exhibit.

Two fascinating public lectures will be presented in conjunction with the Sketch to Screen exhibition. On Wednesday, May 5, Deborah Nadoolman Landis Ph.D., professional costume designer with credits including Raiders of the Lost Ark and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, will talk about Hollywood’s most tantalizing costumes and the characters they helped bring to life, using examples from her book Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design.

On Wednesday, June 2, Sandy Schreier, fashion historian and the world’s foremost private collector of twentieth-century couture, American fashion, and Hollywood costuming, will share her insights from her book Hollywood Dressed and Undressed. Both lectures will be presented in the Museum’s Noble Theater.

On Saturday, May 22, the Museum will present a Family Day from noon to 4 p.m. Families and children can enjoy hands-on art making featuring costume design, paper dolls, and flip books, live performances by Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, face painting, mini-tours, a family guide, door prize drawings, and more. Activities are appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required. Free with paid Museum admission.

Docent-led and self-guided group tours for students and adults will provide an in-depth look at the costumes, films and themes presented in the exhibition. Museum School camps and workshops offered throughout the summer will feature courses on video production, costume illustration, and film appreciation. Community outreach opportunities will include a collaboration with the Metropolitan Library System and area senior centers.

Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design is organized by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and is co-curated by Brian Hearn, film curator, and Jennifer Klos, associate curator. Confirmed lenders to the exhibition include: Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, The Collection of the Motion Picture Costume Design/Larry McQueen, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, George Eastman House International Museum of Film & Photography, The Autry National Center of the American West, NBC Universal Archive, 20th Century Fox Archive, MGM Archive, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma History Center, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Sandy Schreier, and Marlene Stewart.


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