“Narciso Rodriguez: An Exercise in Minimalism,” the fashion designer’s first-ever museum retrospective, is literally that. The elegant display is a tightly curated selection of pieces from past collections—sleek, monochromatic, modern—presented alongside works from major contemporary artists who’ve influenced Rodriguez, including Carmen Herrera, Donald Judd and Mira Schendel. Juxtaposed garments and paintings give viewers a glimpse into Rodriguez’s creative process and inspiration, such as Cuban-born Alberto Menocal’s geometric works, which informed Rodriguez’s spring 2013 line, or the black-and-white motifs Rodriguez has regularly explored in his designs. (Black and white are the foundations of every collection, he says). Beyond showcasing the famous dresses Rodriguez has dreamed up for the likes of Michelle Obama, the show, like his designs, is a pared-down celebration of his life’s work.