Karen LaMonte: Théâtre de la Mode

Karen LaMonte: Théâtre de la Mode

September 9, 2021 - January 2, 2022 View Exhibition Gallery 3D VIRTUAL TOUR

For our third changing exhibition, the Barry Art Museum is proud to present Karen LaMonte: Théâtre de la Mode, September 9, 2021, through January 2, 2022. LaMonte is an acclaimed American sculptor living and working in Prague. By freezing a single gesture of a body both clothed and in motion, LaMonte investigates themes of memory, beauty, and loss. A master craftsperson, LaMonte has pioneered complex casting methods across diverse media. At the Barry, we set the stage with a selection of her astonishing works in cast glass, iron, and bronze.

This exhibition positions works from LaMonte’s significant sculptural oeuvre in the context of the theater in times of war and upheaval. LaMonte has been inspired by the historical fashion mannequins of Théâtre de la Mode, and here we pay homage to that connection by positioning her work in that performative context. Selections from both her musically referenced Nocturnes series and accompanying Études (one-third scale sculptures) are presented in the gallery, alongside couture fashion dolls that tell the story of these miniature ambassadors or Pandora Dolls through the ages.


We are immensely grateful to Artist Karen LaMonte and her partner Steve Polane; Steve Grafe, Curator of Art at the Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA; Alice Hammond at Gerald Peters Contemporary; and Elwood Robinson and Jim Lyden of the ODU Theatre Dept for their generosity and collaborative spirit in the creation of this exhibit.

Related Programming:

U-Nite: Fashion & Design

Inspired by our featured exhibition, Karen LaMonte: Théâtre de la Mode, our first-ever U-Nite will feature a fashion show with works by students from the Governor’s School for the Arts and the ODU’s Fashion and Merchandising Program.

Free Monthly Lecture Series is a series of conversations inspired by the Karen LaMonte exhibition.

All recordings of the past Fall 2021 Lectures are available to watch on the Barry Art Museum Youtube Page.

Programs and Exhibitions are made possible by our generous Museum Sponsors:

The Barry Art Museum Board of Directors, in honor of our Museum’s founders, Dick and Carolyn Barry, for their remarkable vision and stewardship. 


Mrs. Sarah K. Baker 

Rutter Family Art Foundation

Ms. Linda H. Kaufman





Bruce A. deArmond, Doll Historian

Brett Day Windham, Independent Artist, Writer, Curator

Liana Graham, Visual Arts Department Chair at The Governor’s School for the Arts

Patrick Mullins, Director of Public Works at Virginia Stage Company

Philip Odango, Costume Designer, Teaching Artist, and Cosplayer



Amy K. Milligan, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies (LBGTQ Advisor)

Christopher Hanna, Professor and Director of Theatre in Communication and Theatre Arts

David Mallin, Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts

Jennifer Fish, Professor, and Chair of Women’s Studies

Julia Dieter, Adjunct Professor and Student Advisor for the Student Fashion Association of ODU

Megan Thompson, Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts

Meredith Magoun, Lecturer in Communication and Theatre Arts (Costume Design)

Nancy Klein, PhD. Professor and Chair of the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music 

Peter Schulman, Professor of French and International Studies

Sharon Davis, Master Lecturer, STEM Education & Professional Studies (Fashion Merchandising) 



Governor’s School for the Arts, Norfolk VA 

Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA

ODU Theatre, Music, Fashion Merchandising, Dept of World Languages and Cultures, and Costume Design Department

Public Works Virginia of Virginia Stage Company



Nocturnes. LaMonte, Karen. Art Works Publishing, New York, 2019. Hardcover.

Karen LaMonte. Artist Monograph. Rizzoli, New York. September 15, 2020. Hardcover, 256 pages. Text by Lucy R. Lippard and Steven A. Nash, Brett Littman, Arthur Danto, and Laura Addison

Théâtre De La Mode. Rizzoli, New York. 1991. Hardcover, 190 pages. Created by Edmonde Charles-Roux  (Author), Herbert R. Lottman (Author), Stanley Garfinkel (Author), Nadine Gasc (Author), Katell le Bourhis (Author), Susan Train (Editor), David Seidner (Photographer)

Théâtre de la Mode: Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture. Palmer/Pletsch Publishing; Revised second edition September 1, 2002. By Edmond Charles-Roux (Author), Herbert R. Lottman (Author), Stanley Garfinkel (Author), Nadine Gasc (Author), David Seidner (Photographer), Susan Train Paris <I>Vogue</I> (Introduction), Colleen Schafroth (Foreword)

Karen LaMonte Nocturnes video

Steven L. Grafe’s Handout, Curator of Art at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, WA. The Théâtre de la Mode: “A Proof of Ingenuity and Good Taste” 

Maryhill Museum of Art’s TDLM overview with historical documents and text.

Steve Grafe Lecture

Maryhill Art Museum online exhibition The Théâtre de la Mode presenting historic images of original sets.

A second Maryhill Art Museum online exhibition

Madame Grès Article: Madame Gres as Sculptor, Menkes, Suzy. The New York Times. April 18, 2011.

The Haptic and Hue Podcast 



Fantasy Of Fashion (1945)


Dior Autumn-Winter 2020-2021 Haute Couture

Jeremy Scott Goes Behind the Seams at His Moschino Marionette Show | Good Morning Vogue | Vogue

“Charles James: Beyond Fashion” | One of the Greatest Couturiers of NYC | Gallery Views