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Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous

Wednesday, November 1



The Columbia Museum of Art is pleased to present Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous, a major fashion and photography exhibition on view Saturday, October 7, 2023, through Sunday, January 21, 2024. Curated and organized by Barrett Barrera Projects, Rendez-Vous débuted at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, and will make its second stop at the CMA this fall before continuing its multi-city tour.

“McQueen continues to endure, inspire, and fascinate, and this exhibition gives rare access to be up close to a designer who transcended the world of fashion,” says CMA Director of Art and Learning Jackie Adams. “The intimate portraits Ann Ray captured of her friend reveal genuine moments of the designer’s creativity, strength, vulnerability, and individualism, giving viewers authentic moments of the person versus the persona.”

Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous explores the 13-year friendship and intimate creative collaboration between the late British designer Lee Alexander McQueen — one of the most renowned contemporary fashion designers of our era — and French photographer Ann Ray, whom McQueen personally selected to document his design process and the behind-the-scenes experience of his runway shows.

“You know, it was simple. He was part of my life, we loved each other, I had rendez-vous,” said Ray. McQueen and Ray’s friendship began with a simple agreement in which money, business considerations and fashion had no place. “I like your images but I’m broke. Give me your photos, I’ll give you clothes,” Ray recalls McQueen expressing to her early in their relationship.

The exhibition features more than 60 photographs taken by Ray, reflecting her unique relationship with McQueen between the years of 1997 and 2010, alongside garments McQueen gifted to her over the course of their work together.

Rendez-Vous also features over 50 spectacular McQueen pieces from Barrett Barrera Projects’ collection, the largest private collection of McQueen’s work and owner of Ray’s full McQueen photographic archive. Altogether, these garments, photographs, and corresponding ephemera tell the story of the iconic duo’s intertwined artistic journey and friendship.

“With Columbia being central to fashion-loving cities such as Charleston, Atlanta, Savannah, and Charlotte, Rendez-Vous has great potential to attract visitors regionally, and we’re excited to be a hub for folks from our community and beyond to experience the work of a revered and respected icon of fashion,” says Adams.