Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Inspiration - Current Fiber Art Exhibits

I finally figured something out.  If I want to quit being disappointed about finding fibers exhibits I wish I could have seen but are already over, I should start searching for current exhibits.  Yeah - nothing too earth shaking here, but a mini enlightenment for me!  I found three - two I'll definitely be able to get to and one I will have to drool over (but you might be able to see it).

I knew about this one, but completely forgot.  If you are ever in Phoenix, be sure to make the Heard Museum a day long stop on your list (aside: the cafe there is very good).  The Heard has numerous on-going and many short term exhibits of Native American art - both historic and present day.  One of the short term exhibits on display through May 22 is A Turning Point - Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century.  This is a collection of over thirty pieces that show changes in Navajo weaving from the 1960's into the 1990's.  These come from the Santa Fe Collection Dr. and Mrs. Charles Rimmer recently donated to the Heard Museum.  I understand that a second exhibit from the collection, featuring older weaving, will open in June.

Triangles in Changing Patterns.  Photo by Anthony Scoggins.

 May 15th through November 6th, the Mingei International Museum in San Diego will host Bold Expressions, an exhibit of fifty plus African-American quilts made from 1910 to the 1970's,  from the collection of Corrine Riley.  Many of these quilts are wonderful examples of what we now call "repurposing."  When clothing wore out, whatever could be salvaged from it was used to create something else - fabric wasn't just thrown away!  Between the non-traditional fabrics and new spins on traditional patterns that is a hallmark of these types of quilts, the show should be a real eye feast.  San Diego is a wonderful place to escape from Phoenix's mid-summer heat, so I should be able to see this exhibit.

I've long admired the work of artist Judy Chicago and was lucky enough to hear her speak several years ago!  One of my serious goals is to get to Brooklyn so I can see her amazing piece, The Dinner Party, set up in its entirety at the Brooklyn Museum.  If you've never come across it, I highly recommend spending a little time at this site exploring the different place settings and reading about its creation.  And yes, there are textiles!

Judy's work often involves more of the conceptual and design work than actual hands on creation by her - she has gathered a group of artisans who help turn her designs into artwork.  One of these women is weaver Audrey Cowan.  Through June 19th, the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan is exhibiting not only seven of the tapestries Audrey and Judy collaborated on, but also the sketches, studies, and engravings used in developing the ideas.  This is a fantastic opportunity to see the work behind the creation of a piece of art.  I don't see any scenario that has me in Manhattan by the middle of June, though, so this is the one I'll have to just drool over!

Judy Chicago, portion of The Creation, 1984.  Wool, silk, and gold threads, woven by Audrey Cowen.  Photo by Donald Woodman.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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