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The First Monday in May 

Wednesday, Apr 13 2016
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Call it superficial, but I call it irrefutable: Life is a runway, and Andrew Rossi's documentary The FirstMonday in Maymakes a strong case for fashion — that oft-demonized form of expression — as an art form. The picture follows the creation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2015 exhibition "China: Through the Looking Glass," a controversial show of Chinese-inspired Western fashions. The hero of both the film and your heart is Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton, who works with Vogue's Anna Wintour and In The Mood For Love director Wong Kar-wai to create a show that acknowledges America's history of appropriating China's culture without further indulging in that appropriation. Like the similarly themed Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, The First Monday in May is a look inside a world that we proles will never get near, particularly the big star-studded opening night gala that takes place on a certain day every year. But it feels more accessible than Bergdorf's, while being chockablock with archive porn — if you don't get a little tingle when the latest vault is opened, you're dead inside — though a weird detail becomes impossible to miss: Everyone is constantly drinking from disposable coffee cups. Can nobody on the payroll of the country's largest art museum afford a $15 Contigo commuter mug?

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Sherilyn Connelly

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