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Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Receives $10 Million Gift from Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch

A landmark gift of $10 million to The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch will support the creation of a major exhibition space within its Costume Institute. This gift will allow the Museum to proceed, beginning in 2012, with the complete renovation of its costume-related exhibition galleries, study collection, and conservation center, it was announced today by Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Museum.

The new 4,200-square-foot gallery—to be named the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery—represents a fundamental change in the Museum’s approach to its costume collection as visitors will now be able to view some aspect of these holdings at least 10 months of the year. These rotating installations will examine fashion through conceptual approaches and connoisseurship and will bring visitors into a close dialogue with the works on display.

“This gift is truly transformative,” stated Mr. Campbell. “The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery is designed as a distinctly flexible space, so the possibilities for creative interpretations of the collection are unlimited. We thank and applaud Lizzie and Jon Tisch for their generosity and for taking a leadership role to launch this project.”

“We are so pleased to help the Met, one of New York City’s great cultural institutions, make their unique and historic collection more accessible to its millions of visitors each year,” said Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch. “In today’s world, fashion, art, and culture are becoming more intertwined, and the renovation of The Costume Institute will give this interrelationship the proper focus it deserves at the Museum. The new gallery will allow young designers and students to see and learn while advancing both art history and the art of fashion design.”

The renovation will also include a new costume conservation center and an expanded and updated study/storage facility that will house, onsite, the combined holdings of the Met and the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, which was transferred to the Metropolitan Museum in early 2009. Adjacent to the new Tisch Gallery, the Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery, established previously in recognition of the Apfels’ generosity, will be refreshed and function as critical introductory space to The Costume Institute holdings.

Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, commented: “This project makes possible the Museum’s dramatic re-thinking of the display of historic costume and contemporary fashion. The current galleries with their fixed vitrines and established flow will be transformed into a space that maximizes the ability of the Museum to present its costume holdings in new and varied ways. A range of visual effects will also be employed to underscore the conceptual and narrative intentions of the changing exhibitions installed in this space.”

Mr. Campbell further stated: “The gift from Lizzie and Jon Tisch is in keeping with the long tradition of support for this institution by family members Joan and Bob Tisch and of Billie and Larry Tisch. This new gift will be combined with the significant proceeds raised each year at the annual spring benefit under the leadership of Anna Wintour along with $1 million commitments from Janet and Howard Kagan and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation.”

The Lizzie and Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation supports a variety of organizations including Tufts University, New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 92nd Street Y, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and others that are active in education, the arts, and health care.

Founded in 1937, The Museum of Costume Art, after its incorporation and renaming as The Costume Institute, became a part of the Metropolitan Museum in 1946. Currently it contains a collection dating from the 17th century to the present, including fashionable dress and regional costumes from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In January 2009, The Brooklyn Museum transferred its important costume collection, amassed during more than a century of collecting, to The Costume Institute, where it is known as the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The combined collections of more than 35,000 pieces—supported by the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, among the world’s foremost fashion libraries—now constitute one of the largest and most comprehensive costume collections in the world, offering an unrivaled timeline of Western fashion history.

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