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Arts Year In Review: A year of culture

Fashion, politics, fame and worldwide awareness all featured prominently in the local art scene during 2012.

December 27, 2012|By Rhea Mahbubani and Michael Miller

With Newport-Mesans in the Olympics, contentious City Council elections and those Mitt and Barack guys grabbing headlines, it was a busy year for news — and the arts proved to be no exception. We could try to order this into a conventional "top 10 stories" or some such thing, but because the arts are always playful and surprising and sometimes impossible to classify, we'll approach our year-end wrapup the same way. Here were some of the highlights of the cultural scene in 2012:

First Class Couture: The "adDRESSING Titanic" exhibit showcased women's haute couture garments, circa 1912. Brought to the Orange County satellite campus in Irvine by the Los Angeles-based Fashion Institute of Designing and Merchandising (FIDM) Museum, these high-fashion garments were debuted on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking.

"You know, if you were the cream of the crop ... you got to wear these types of garments," said FIDM's curator, Kevin Jones. "The Titanic is considered really the death knell of this kind of Edwardian, Victorian era, where there was a great deal of advancement in technology … but the human side of it had not caught up to it yet."

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Featuring clothes worn by Lady Duff Gordon, a prominent survivor of the Titanic, alongside dinner gowns crafted by Beer and Doucet, two French designers from the same era, the exhibition opened with a presentation and tour led by Jones.

The Masters: Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Orange County Museum of Art, "OC Collects" showcased 85 works by 47 local and international artists and was co-curated by director Dennis Szakacs and chief curator Dan Cameron.

Cameron revealed that the show, which closes Dec. 30, highlighted the role of the private collector within the history of OCMA.

"When people think of Orange County, they don't automatically think 'art collectors,'" Cameron said. "And yet, good collectors don't just belong to this area now. They have been here for a long time. We thought this was a great opportunity to display a cross section of the different collecting approaches here while creating a space where artists, art lovers and collectors can all meet and have an exchange."

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