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Published: Thursday, 6/30/2011

Lines form for McQueen show at the Met

BY KATYA KAZAKINA
BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- It looked like the food lines in my old hometown of Leningrad.

That's how long the queue is to get into the hit show at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty."

The waiting time to see the late designer's outlandish creations is displayed on a stand by the ticket counters. It was 30 minutes when I visited on a rainy Wednesday and can be more than twice that.

Since the show's opening on May 4, more than 354,684 people have seen it, surpassing the attendance of the 2005 Van Gogh drawing exhibition during its first seven weeks.

"It's certainly going to be among the most popular shows ever," said Harold Holzer, the museum's senior vice president for external affairs. "In terms of running at maximum capacity, it's right up there with all the biggest hits at the Met."

Installed by the museum's Costume Institute, the exhibition features about 100 ensembles and 70 accessories created by McQueen, who committed suicide last year. Materials include horse hair, wood, ostrich feathers, antlers, and crocodile heads. Other distractions: video installations and a dreamy hologram of Kate Moss amid rippling ribbons of silk.

Every half an hour, about 400 people trickle into the darkened rooms displaying neo-Victorian gowns and tartan frocks.

About 6,500 people see the show on weekdays and 8,000 on weekends when the museum is open until 9 p.m.

The Met has extended the show by one week and is offering extra viewings, including July 4.

Those willing to pay $50 for a ticket can attend on Mondays when the museum is closed to the public. More than 1,000 people have paid for "Met Mondays with McQueen" since the offer began on June 6.

During the last week of the exhibition, which closes Aug. 7, the museum is considering staying open outside of its regular business hours to accommodate demand, Holzer said.



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