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Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber

For Release: January 21, 2004
College Station, TX - For more than 30 years, a Judith Leiber handbag has stood for the ultimate in craftsmanship and design. It has become an American icon of fashion and style and has evolved into a coveted status object for celebrities, socialites and collectors. Yet beyond the glamour and celebrity, Judith Leiber handbags also stand as remarkable works of art. Fashioning Art celebrates Leiber's extraordinary artistic achievement by showcasing her creative genius and influence on nearly four decades of fashion. Organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber presents a comprehensive survey of Judith Leiber's career and art.

"Judith Leiber's handbags are created with such exquisite workmanship and design that they transcend mere accessory. The become objets d'art," says Stacey Schmidt, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. "Judith has always understood that a fashion accessory can express many things simultaneously - sophistication, cultural wit, reverence, style and humor. Almost single-handedly, she has advanced the artistic possibilities of the handbag."

Featuring more than 160 bags, Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber includes a range of work, from the first beaded bag, created in 1967, to more recent designs. Judith Leiber bags are inspired by a variety of sources, including Asian culture, nature, Hollywood and museum objects. For instance, Leiber designed a line of Chinese Food dog handbags that combines traditional Asian motifs and innovative use of color. Her nature-inspired handbags include beaded bags with elaborate floral patterns. Artists such as Piet Mondrian, Georges Braque, Gustav Klimt and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and periods of art such as Art Deco or Pop art are represented. There is a nod towards Hollywood with a bag nicknamed the "007" because it has a secret compartment for glasses or a cell phone. Judith Leiber bags have graced the arms of numerous First Ladies, including Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton and most recently, Laura Bush.

Judith Leiber bags are included in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), the Historical Society of Chicago, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber opens on January 23, 2004 and runs through April 30. Museum hours are Monday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 until 5:00 p.m. Museum admission is $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for students, $5.00 for senior citizens 62+ and groups of 20 or more with reservations. Children age 6 - 17 are $2.00, Children under 5 as well as Texas A&M and Blinn College Students with valid ID are free.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091