I know it seems rather tone-deaf or even callous to launch an exhibition in the midst of a pandemic, especially an exhibition that projects optimism and celebrates a new spring season. But I honestly feel like it's carrying out the Makeup Museum's mission to do so. Both art and makeup have a positive effect on mental health, and I believe that the Museum's content can contribute to our collective well-being. I'm not going to pretend that the Museum can prevent people from getting sick or that it can save jobs. Nor would I be so pompous to believe that it can effect any sort of real change in the beauty industry or society in general; it simply doesn't have the power or influence (yet...world domination is on my bucket list.) But I do think it can help in some small way and provide a bit of comfort. At the very least, an exhibition won't cause any harm. I think you can be incredibly concerned about the current situation but also able to take a quick break from reality and soak in something positive and/or pretty to look at. And that's where the Museum comes in. I'm hoping the exhibition will be nice to browse, but I also wanted to give the option of participation as an added distraction, since we seem to need those now more than ever. For a while I've been enamored of the idea of the participatory museum, and while the efforts for audience engagement weren't quite successful for the Stila girls exhibition, perhaps the topic of the spring 2020 exhibition will yield a more lively conversation. The exhibition is scheduled to go up this week, but in the meantime you can ruminate on the following ways to get involved if you so choose.
- An oldie but goodie method of audience engagement: After the exhibition goes up, tell me what your favorite objects/looks were. (I've been doing this for years and I'm always interested to see what the favorites are.)
- Submit your favorite butterfly-inspired makeup looks. They can be your own creations or made by others, just make sure you provide the proper credit. I know there are tons of editorial and runway looks inspired by butterflies, but at the moment I'm only able to access what's freely available online, so I'm interested for others to uncover butterfly looks lurking below the surface.
- Submit your favorite butterfly makeup ads or objects that weren't covered in the exhibition. Again, I just need photo credits.
- Share your thoughts on makeup as metamorphosis. Do you think makeup is transformational on a level other than physical appearance? Why or why not? Do you have any moments where you felt transformed by makeup?
- Share any and all thoughts on butterflies as they relate to makeup.
The Museum will welcome entries from April 10 until May 15. You can email me, leave a comment here, or message me on Twitter or Instagram. I will set up a second blog post as a sort of crowd-sourced exhibition, and add all your contributions there as they come in. I'll be tweeting them and putting them in my stories on Instagram along the way as well. Of course, if you don't want to do any of the above and just sit back and view the exhibition, that's fine too. :)
Thank you and I hope your enjoy! Butterflies are a longstanding symbol of the soul, so consider the Museum's exhibition a little butterfly sanctuary for both makeup and spirit.