Susan Barrett, President of Barrett Barrera Projects, stopped by to speak with Nancy about BBP’s acquisition of the photographs of Ann Ray concerning the life and work of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, among other subjects
Ann Ray is a French visual artist. She is self-taught in photography, except for alternative processes, which she studied during her studies at Central Saint Martins in London. During the late nineties, she lived in Tokyo and London, where she forged an unbreakable relationship with Lee Alexander McQueen, whom she immediately recognized as a pure artist. This was the start of an intense friendship and artistic collaboration that was as prolific as it was unique. From 1997 until the designer’s tragic end in 2010, Ann Ray’s caring gaze captured the spirit of the man and the essence of his work in many intimate situations: portrait sessions, at work in the studio, during performances – images of truth that reveal McQueen’s creativity. Ray first revealed part of her work with McQueen to the public during the exhibition Les Inachevés: Lee McQueen, at the 2018 edition of the Rencontres d’Arles. In 2019, she presented the exhibition Blind Faith, at Ca’Pesaro in Venice, showing a series of portraits she took of different artists with their eyes closed. She is currently working on a creative documentary, a feature film, and she is preparing the publication of a collection of poems and images, as well as her first novel.
Lee Alexander McQueen is a British fashion designer who founded the iconic, eponymous label and served as chief designer of Givenchy from 1996 to 2001. McQueen was known for designing outside the conventions of the fashion world, often taking inspiration from avant-garde installations, theatre, performance art, and gothic fairytales. The immersive experience of his runway shows allowed fashion to transcend commodification. McQueen saw fashion as an artistic medium—one capable of evoking thesublime and providing commentary on identity, culture, values, and politics. His work has been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in the solo exhibition Savage Beauty
Hannah Klemm, the associate curator of modern and contemporary art, curates the museum’s “Currents” and “New Media Series” exhibitions. Klemm previously was the Fisher Collection Graduate Curatorial Fellow at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she has worked on the contemporary German art collection. She holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a bachelor’s degree in art history with honors from Sarah Lawrence College. Klemm has received several fellowships and awards, including a 10-month research fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service at Humboldt University in Berlin.
About Currents 120: Jess T. Dugan - Through February 20, 2022
St. Louis–based artist Jess T. Dugan is known for their color photographs that explore the power of identity, desire, and connection. In Currents 120: Jess T. Dugan, the museum presents a selection of 20 recent works—portraits, self-portraits, and still lifes—many of which were created specifically for this exhibition. Within a framework of queer and nonbinary experience and from an actively constructed sense of masculinity, Dugan’s portraits examine intersections between individual identity and the search for intimate connection with others.
About Art Along the Rivers: Through January 9, 2022
The exhibition includes a surprising range of objects that vary widely in medium, function, and the prominence of their makers. For example, it brings together Mississippian sculpture, Osage textiles, architectural drawings for iconic landmarks, musical instruments, German and Creole furniture, African American decorative arts, prize-winning paintings from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and contemporary artists’ responses to these historic objects. While at first these works might appear to have few connections, the exhibition arranges them by theme rather than by culture or chronology to establish dialogues around the region’s geography, raw materials, and pressing social issues.
About Oliver Lee Jackson: Through February 20, 2022
Oliver Lee Jackson is known for creating complex and layered images in which figurative elements—or what he calls “paint people”—emerge from abstract fields of vibrant color. Jackson’s practice is informed by a deep understanding of global art history—from early modern European painting to African art. Yet his works do not aim to elevate a single message, narrative, or meaning. Rather, the works serve as an open invitation to slow and close looking, encouraging viewers to stake emotional claim on the paintings and not wait for instructions on what to see.
David Brinker, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the museum as well as the current exhibition Tom Kiefer: Pertenencias / Belongings Sept. 3 – Dec. 19, 2021.
About MOCRA: Through exhibitions, collections and educational programs, MOCRA highlights and explores the ways contemporary visual artists engage the religious and spiritual dimensions. MOCRA serves the diverse Saint Louis University community, and the wider public, by facilitating personal discovery, experience and inspiration, while contributing to a wider culture of interfaith encounter and dialogue.
About Tom Kiefer: Pertenencias / Belongings
In July 2003, fine art photographer Tom Kiefer started working part-time as a janitor and groundskeeper at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility near Ajo, Arizona. In mid-2007, he was given permission to collect food confiscated from migrants and asylum seekers and donate it to a local food pantry. He was deeply moved at finding personal belongings in the trash bins along with the food. These items, necessary for hygiene, comfort and survival, were deemed “non-essential” or “potentially lethal” and seized and discarded by officials. Kiefer began to quietly rescue what items he could, and he resigned from his job in August 2014 to focus on photographing and documenting them in an ongoing project titled El Sueño Americano / The American Dream.
Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
Saint Louis University
221 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103