Cool Culture flings open the City’s museum doors for our underserved youth. Why is culture so cool? The language and culture that upscale kids absorb outside of school is one of the insidious factors that keep kids in lower income homes from breaking out of their demographic. By the time they are three, children in professional families have heard about 32 million more words than their lower income counterparts. Only 9 percent of core museumgoers in the US are people of color.
The participating The Jewish Museum’s Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History exhibit is a perfect example of how art can inspire. Candice Anderson introduced Vanity Fair‘s high profile cover story scribe Amy Fine Collins, who gave Cool Culture supporters, including Michele Gerber Klein and Leesa Rowland, a private tour. With her rail thin frame and stylist’s eye, Fine Collins, has been covering and embodying fashion for decades. She remembered – firsthand – Mizrahi’s fashion firsts: the moment he unveiled color, his iconic tartan collection, high/low conceits and Target collaboration.
For anyone who doubted the link between art and commerce, Fine Collins wore a Mizrahi dress created for his Bonnard Collection. A noted colorist, who collected and mounted fabric swatches as abstract art compositions, Mizrahi’s search had unearthed a pale yellow confection with tiny Impressionist dots of colors. “It touches on how cultural institutions inspire young people,” Fine Collins told the group.
Mizrahi’s creative process began with his drawings, inspired, almost in a “religious bliss,” Fine Collins said. “What comes out often surprises him as much as it does anyone else.” He also loved the fitting process. “Everything in between kind of bores him.”
“Few people realize what a universal artist Isaac is,” she continued. “He sings. He does dance. He plays the piano. He was trained to be an actor at the high school of performing arts — the one that was the basis for the movie and TV series Fame – and in fact, Isaac was even in the movie. He also acts, which is why he’s such a good salesman!”
Mostly, these days, he’s “selling up a storm on QVC.” Currently, his Christmas ornaments are best sellers on QVC. “It makes no sense,” she mused, “A Jewish guy who went to Yeshiva celebrating Christmas in July.”