Press Release: James Gallery Features European Films and Fashion from the ‘60s Mannequins Return to B. Altman Windows

Mannequins dressed in 1960s European fashions combine with legendary foreign films of the period to evoke a vital creative era, in the James Gallery’s latest exhibition,  FASHION + FILM, the 1960s Revisited, on view from Friday, March 12, through Saturday, May 1.The exhibition will also evoke a vital era on Fifth Avenue, as the Graduate Center and the James Gallery, with its grand storefront windows, are housed in the former B. Altman department store building at 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets). The gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 12 to 8 p.m. The exhibition is curated by Eugenia Paulicelli, professor of comparative literature and women’s studies and co-director of the Graduate Center’s Concentration in Fashion Studies.

The location of the James Gallery within the historic B. Altman building, so key in introducing Italian and European styles in the U.S., makes it a perfect fit for this kind of exhibition and its concept. Through the viewing of films, where clothes are in action, juxtaposed with the fashionably dressed mannequins, the exhibition will explore the interactions between geographic spaces (cities and countries), public spaces, the street, the movie theater, the department store, and private spaces.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of films such as La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, L'Avventura by Michelangelo Antonioni, Rocco and His Brothers by Luchino Visconti, and Breathless by Jean Luc Godard. It was with these films that Italian and European culture, style, and identity became known to the world, especially through the success they received in the U.S. The exhibition will explore the connections between Europe and the U.S. in cinema and fashion, two major culture industries that always feed on each other in both economic and symbolic terms.
Focusing on the 1960s, this multimedia exhibition will explore the cross-cultural relations between a number of European countries’ cinematography and fashion and their reception in modern U.S. culture. The show will present for the first time archival materials, photographs, costume sketches, interviews with stars (Archivio San Biagio, Cesena and Giuseppe Palmas Archive) and Italian TV commercials from the RAI (the Italian state television company). It will include feature films by Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita), Michelangelo Antonioni (L'Avventura, Blow- up, Zabriskie Point),Luchino Visconti (Rocco and His Brothers), and Ingmar Bergman(Persona), Elio Petri (The 10th Victim)—screened on an ongoing basis—as well as clothing in the style of the period. In addition, the documentary Hollywood on the Tiber, presented at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, will be shown. The juxtaposition of this rich and diverse material along with film screenings will allow viewers to critically revisit one of the most important and innovative decades of the 20th century.
On Friday, March 12, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., a symposium will be presented on conjunction with the exhibition. The symposium will feature internationally renowned scholars in the fields of film, art and fashion. Adriana Berselli, the costume designer who worked with Antonioni’s L’Avventura, will explore the multifaceted relationship between fashion and film and their impact on the construction and projection of personal and collective identities and style. For the full conference schedule, visit

The exhibition is co-sponsored by Comune di Cesena, Assessorato alla Cultura; Centro Cinema, Citta' di Cesena; RAI; Archivio Giuseppe Palmas; and Brioni. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for Fashion Studies, University of Stockholm; and the Center for the Humanities, the Concentration in Fashion Studies, Women's Studies, the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies, Film Studies, and the Italian Specialization at the Graduate Center.

The Graduate Center is devoted primarily to doctoral studies and awards most of the City University of New York’s Ph.D.s. An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to more than thirty interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: FEB 1, 2010

Category: Center for the Humanities | Press Room