Should Kids See the Jean Paul Gaultier Show at the de Young?
June 30, 2012Posted by pamela |
Although my daughter is only six, she's dead set on being a fashion designer. She's serious about it, too—she constantly draws pictures of original clothing designs and even makes outfits for her dolls and stuffed animals. When she heard about the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, she decided we had to take her to see it.
I was a little hesitant at first, since the flamboyant Gaultier has the reputation for being edgy and often risqué, and the museum itself put out notices that the show contained "adult content," but I'd also heard great things about it. Rather than pass on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we decided to go, with the idea that I'd help guide the children through the exhibition.
The show itself is fantastic. Even if you're not into fashion, or if you don't know anything about Jean Paul Gaultier, it's worth going for the spectacle and artistry of it. It's unlike any museum exhibition I've ever been too before, with a musical soundtrack, videos playing in monitors on the walls, and talking mannequins. Yes, that's right: many of the mannequins (including one that represents the designer himself) talk, as well as sing, smile, and even wink. In fact, my son was convinced one of the mannequins actually winked right at him! Even though this effect is accomplished through video projection, it really does seem like the mannequins are interacting with you. It's a little unusual, but it's also fun and mesmerizing and really contributes to the overall atmosphere of the show.
The clothing, especially the haute couture pieces, are amazing to look at, and many of them have labels that show exactly how many hours of work went in to each one. Don't miss the spectacular gown that looks like it's made from a leopard pelt but is in fact created from thousands upon thousands of tiny beads.
Kids will love things like this, as well as the mannequins that move on a catwalk and the big screen TV that play clips from the many movies that Gaultier's designed the costumes for. What should you watch out for as far as kids go? I didn't find too that was objectionable, really, although it all depends on you and your family. There are a few photos depicting nudes or nearly nude models, but my kids were too busy looking at the clothing to notice them. There's one gallery—the fourth one you come to in the show—that has some outifts with fetish and bondage themes, but it wasn't that difficult to scope it out ahead and hustle the children into the next room before they saw anything. And honestly, they probably wouldn't have had any idea what they were looking at anyhow.
So, in response to the question "Is this show appropriate for children?" my answer is a qualified yes, but of course it's ultimately up to you as a parent whether you think it's appropriate for your family or not. Just keep an open mind, and prepare to possibly have to answer some questions. Overall it's fun, fascinating, and inspiring, and well worth a visit. If you don't want to bring your kids, it's a great idea for a "girls' day out" trip into San Francisco.
If You Go
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is on view at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park through August 19, 2012. The museum is open Tuesday–Sunday from 9:30 am–5:15 pm, and until 8:45 pm on Friday nights.
Admission to the special exhibition is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors 65+, $16 for students with valid ID, and $10 for youths 6–17. Children 5 and under and museum members are free.
Tickets to Jean Paul Gaultier include general admission to the museum, features American art from the 17th century to the present, and the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Make sure you take a trip up the elevator to the museum's tower observation floor, which offers breathtaking views of the city and the Marin Headlands.
To get there, follow Highway 101 south across the Golden Gate Bridge and take the 19th Avenue exit onto Park Presidio Boulevard. Follow Park Presidio south and turn right on Cabrillo Street, then right on 14th Avenue and right again in Balboa Street. Follow Balboa to 10th Avenue, where you'll turn left and drive into the Golden Gate Park parking garage. You can also enter the park at 8th Avenue and park along the street; parking here is limited to four hours on weekdays.
Dining is available in the de Young Café, and there are hot dog stands and occasionally food trucks outside the museum near the band shell.
For more information on the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition and the de Young Museum, visit www.deyoungmuseum.org or call (415) 750-3600.