To Us, He Was Alexander McQueen—to Her, He Was Just Lee

 In Culture, Event

There are few documentarians who become close to their famous subjects. But not every documentarian is like photographer Ann Ray—or her subject, the iconic late fashion designer “Lee” Alexander McQueen. And on Oct. 5, the brand-new projects+exhibitions space (4568 Manchester Ave.) from Barrett Barrera Projects brings that astonishing private relationship to light.

Image of “Inside,” a 40-by-30-centimeter silver gelatin print, courtesy of Ann Ray and Barrett Barrera Projects.

From Oct. 5 to Feb. 15, you’re invited inside the intimate, 13-year friendship between the iconic British designer and the brilliant French artist he invited into his studio in the earliest days of his career—and, eventually, into the wings of his internationally legendary runway shows. But in the earliest days of their collaboration, McQueen didn’t have much to offer Ray: “I like your images, but I’m broke,” she recalls the avant-garde luminary saying shortly after they met. “Give me your photos; I’ll give you clothes.”

To Us, He Was Alexander McQueen—to Her, He Was Just Lee

Photo by Sarah Carmody, courtesy of Barrett Barrera Projects and RKL Consulting.

If that romantic arrangement puts you in mind of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s ramshackle Chelsea days depicted in “Just Kids,” don’t be fooled. Ray and McQueen’s relationship is as particular and extraordinary as they are—and the only way to experience it is to immerse yourself in the collection of images, garments and intimate remembrances that will make up “Ann Ray & Lee McQueen: Rendez-Vous.”

At projects+exhibitions, Barrett Barrera Projects has given itself space to experiment, discover and design new museum-quality exhibitions that will travel nationally and internationally after debuting in St. Louis. It’s part of an expansion that includes a relocation of the main offices and the addition of a private guest house in the Central West End where Barrett Barrera Projects can accommodate visitors from its global network of artists and creatives while introducing them to the city.

To Us, He Was Alexander McQueen—to Her, He Was Just Lee

Image of “Flesh and Blood,” a 40-by-30-centimeter color photograph, courtesy of Ann Ray and Barrett Barrera Projects.

Featuring more than two dozen key McQueen pieces from Barrett Barrera Project’s private collection and inaugurating an exciting new artistic hub that has been closed since the days of White Flag Projects, the “Rendez-Vous” exhibit is one that fashion fans, St. Louis art aficionados and anyone intrigued by the nuances of creative partnership won’t want to miss.

There will be an artist talk about “Ann Ray & Lee McQueen: Rendez-Vous” at projects+exhibition on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. Regular hours are Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Featured image, “Starry Eyes,” a 40-by-30-centimeter silver gelatin print, courtesy of Ann Ray and Barrett Barrera Projects.

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