I dress like it’s still the 1950s. (Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011)
In the exhibit Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, fans of the vocalist can get a peek at the girl and her family before and after she found fame. Born in 1983 to a Jewish family in a London suburb, Winehouse grew up a regular kid in a supportive household.
In this charming, small exhibit is a family tree, photos, concert mementos, clothing of her childhood, and fashions the singer favored. Included is a dress by Betsy Johnson, which Ms. Winehouse wore for her US television debut on David Letterman during which band leader Paul Shaffer said she looked very much like a member of the 1960s girl group, The Ronettes. There’s also an array of flashy platform shoes by designers such as Fendi, Ferragamo, and YSL.
Often sporting a 60s beehive hairdo and 50s dresses, Ms. Winehouse was inspired by vintage clothing as well as vintage tunes. Her taste in jazz, swing, and soul music developed early on, and she had an ever-growing collection of LP records by musicians such as Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughan, many of which are included in the exhibition.
In response to the intimate look at Winehouse allowed in A Family Portrait, The CJM invited three contemporary artists to display work about the public figure of the singer. Bay Area artists Jason Jägel and Jennie Ottinger create new works for You Know I’m No Good and a selection of drawings by New York artist Rachel Harrison will also be on view.
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait runs now through November 1, 2015 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.