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

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An exhibition showcasing costumes from some of Glenn Close's most iconic roles will be on display starting May 4 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 4 to Nov. 14, 2021, in the Eskenazi Museum's Featured Exhibition Gallery.

The seven-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.

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