December 8, 2019
“Drop Knee” tote, $198
Margaret Kilgallen died in 2001 at the age of 33. While known but not yet heralded during her tragically short career, Kilgallen’s art addressed changing ideas of gender norms and forecasted concepts of empowerment now linked to the dialogue of the #MeToo movement, making the current retrospective of her work, that’s where the beauty is, at the Aspen Art Museum feel supremely relevant. Kilgallen’s stylized depictions of females were inspired by unusual heroines, such as the Australian athlete who won a gold in swimming when the sport made its Olympic debut for females in 1912, and women participating in activities identified pictorially with masculine subjects, like fighting, smoking or surfing. Through her painting and printmaking, she wanted to “change the emphasis of what’s important when looking at a woman,” she once said, and was committed to inspiring a younger generation of women.
Denim brand Citizens of Humanity got wind of the show and reached out to the museum to explore a partnership. The outcome was a limited-edition capsule collection of jeans, jean jackets, T-shirts and totes, all pieces one could easily imagine young Kilgallen wearing while cruising around tagging trains or painting in her studio in San Francisco. Each piece was handembellished by artisans in Los Angeles with screen printing and/or embroidery inspired by motifs from Kilgallen’s work. The lip T-shirt ($198) has been the bestseller, and the entire special collection is available in the museum’s gift shop. Exhibition through June 16, free admission, 637 E. Hyman Ave., aspenartmuseum.org