The exhibition opens with I Believe In Santa Paws Diamond Christmas shirt. a small statue of Antinous. Hadrian’s lover, that shows the Greek with his hips cocked into a sinuous contrapposto pose, which Bolton calls the “archetypical camp pose.” Around that gallery are photographs of nude male bodies by Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Eakins, and Hal Fischer. Bolton recommends you walk to the back of the gallery, toward a painting of Louis XIV in the contrapposto pose, and pivot to face the entrance.
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“When you turn around here, Steff,” he pauses to let out a laugh, “it’s just a series of bums!” Later, in the Sontag room, you’ll find a deliciously explicit Aubrey Beardsley drawing that comes with its own parental warning I Believe In Santa Paws Diamond Christmas shirt. The feather dresses that spin on an elevated platform later in the fashion gallery are complemented by duckbills by Stephen Jones.Last night, Laverne Cox, Kacey Musgraves, and Marc Jacobs, were among the guests who gathered at the West Village’s historic Stonewall Inn for the annual pre-Met party. Easily the evening’s most fabulous moment came when RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Aquaria took to the stage just before dinner. Her first number? Eartha Kitt’s “I Want to Be Evil,” which she performed while careening from one table to the next, even pouring herself a sip of wine from an open bottle. Her grand entrance was nothing short of epic, thanks to a jacket that seemed to be exploding with brightly colored faux flowers.“I made it with hot glue, so I can only imagine how long it would take the atelier to hand sew all the flowers on the real one,” she joked, moments after the performance. What she wore underneath was equally show-stopping: a cha-cha bodysuit made by her costume designer friend Jamil Moreno that was dripping in red sequins. “I have so many campy numbers that I thought both the fashion crowd and your everyday Stonewall client would enjoy—for me, that’s combining funky costumes with classic drag elements and humor,” she said. “In a crowd of so many big names, I wanted to do numbers that I felt confident with rather than silly, campy things that I think might have worked for me.”