Monthly archives: August, 2017

Spotlight on Bamboo: Bamboo Baskets Get the Nod at the Met

Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collectionis the first show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to concentrate on basketry, it features works of Japanese bamboo art dating from the late 19th century to the present—the period when basketry in Japan became recognized as an art form that transcends “craft.” The exhibition showcases more than 80 bamboo baskets and sculptures created by accomplished artists, including all six masters who have received the designation “Living National Treasure.” It celebrates the promised gift to the Met of more than 70 mostly extraordinary bamboo baskets and sculptures from the New York collectors Diane and Arthur Abbey. The exhibition also includes a site-specific installation, The Gate, by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, a fourth-generation bamboo artist born in 1973, meandering forms, that Roberta Smith says have “an animated-cartoon energy and snap; they cavort almost wickedly.” “Throughout the exhibition,” Smith continues. ” you will see basketry abstracted, deconstructed and all but exploded in the hands of successive generations of artists.” The exhibition will be open through February 2018 — it is not to be missed.

The Gate by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, Tiger bamboo, 2017, Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A number of the artists exhibited by browngrotta arts have frequently worked with bamboo. Jiro Yonezawa , awarded the Lloyd Cotsen Bamboo Prize in 2006, is a master — creating vessels, seductive objects and human-size sculptures.

Red Heat Haze by Jiro Yonezawa, bamboo and thread, 100″ x 13.5″, 2004, Photo: Tom Grotta

While Yonezawa harvests and prepares his own bamboo, (and speaks about that process here), Dona Anderson repurposes the bamboo she uses from kendo and hockey sticks to create vessels and sculptures. She began in the 1980s, making a series of missiles of bamboo sticks combined with colored fabrics stitched with a sewing machine, each nearly five feet high.
Nancy Moore Bess has studied bamboo extensively. She is the author of Bamboo in Japancalled by Donald Richie

” a compendium of information that is not likely to be soon duplicated.” She is also the creator of works that combine bamboo and waxed linen. “I met Tanabe-san on the first tour,” Bess writes. “He is a lovely young man.” The entry piece in Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection is “ spectacular” in Bess’s view. The artist/author met Yamagishi-san who provided the Tiger Bamboo in the Met exhibition and from which The Gate is made, when she was researching the book. “Interestingly,” Bess writes, “if you take a rhizome of his tosatorafudake (tiger bamboo from Tosa, had to show off a bit) and plant it anywhere else, the skin does not develop the distinctive tiger markings!”

The exhibition will be open through February 2018 — it is not to be missed. For more information on the show click here. The show’s catalog is available in The Met’s online store here.

Dispatches: New Bedford, Mass — history, art and eats

We’ve all heard of the common stomping grounds of an affluent New England traveler. Many New Yorkers head to the Hamptons, but for those who are farther north (or willing to take a longer trek), Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket make up the holy trinity.

But for anyone who’s ready to switch things up, enjoy the opportunity to take a break from driving this summer by stopping in New Bedford, MA on your way to whichever classic summer vacation spot lies ahead. Whether you’ve visited before or it’s your first time stopping through, New Bedford will capture your heart with its rich history, quaint cobblestone streets and incredible art offerings.

New Bedford’s historic downtown boasts a working waterfront brings the nostalgia of old whaling days. Filled with a variety of restaurants, shops, and museums, the downtown district of New Bedford offers something for everyone while bringing the past to life. If you are looking for a lively experience, check out the North End of New Bedford; teeming with an array of cafes and bakeries, the North End illuminates New Bedford’s multicultural heritage.

More into the museum scene? Don’t miss the New Bedford Art Museum, Artworks!, which plays host this summer to Plunge: Explorations from Above and Below, a fascinating group exhibition of works influenced by water.
And because there’s so much to catch and so little time, press this list of to create your perfect New Bedford itinerary.


What to Do in New Bedford and environs:

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Above: Entry to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta


The New Bedford Whaling Museum chronicles the history and impact of the “Old Dartmouth” whaling industry. Whale oil harvested by crews from New Bedford once lit the entire East Coast. The museum houses everything from whale skeletons and a model of the world’s largest whaling ship to work by internationally known maritime artists. The museum also gives you an opportunity to explore the importance of whale science and conservation, as well as informing you about what you can do to advance the cause.

New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks!

Above: Facade of the New Bedford Art Museum, Photo by Tom Grotta


The New Bedford Art Museum is a must-see for visitors of all ages. The museum offers a diverse array of engaging artwork, as well as a dynamic and interactive experience for kids and an extensive collection for parents and art lovers. This summer, the New Bedford Art Museum collaborated with browngrotta arts to create Plunge: Explorations from Above and Below, a unique exhibit that combines 16 artists working in numerous media to create a body of work that pays tribute to the nautical and natural processes around us. Artist featured in Plunge used fish scales, Danish sail cloth, and even an old Moby Dick book as material for their work.  Plunge can be viewed at the New Bedford Art Museum until October 8th.

Above: Plunge: Explorations from Above and Below at the New Bedford Art Museum, Photo by Tom Grotta


The Seamen’s Bethel

Life at sea was exhausting and monotonous, after returning to landwhalers would spend the majority of their time and money at gambling dens, brothels and saloons. However, Quaker whalers in New Bedford saw this as a threat to the dignity and good order of their community. Therefore, the citizens of the town created the New Bedford Port Society for the Moral Improvement of Seamen, which offered church services to whalers before and after their whaling ventures. Due to the varying religions of the whalers, the church was declared non-denominational and is still that way today. Moby Dick’s author Herman Melville was one of the many whalers who found solace in the church before venturing out to sea.

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center

The Fishing Heritage Center, which opened just over a year ago, works to share the story of New Bedford’s fishing community by educating the public about the history and culture of the fearless fishermen who spent their lives working to provide for the community. Where the Whaling Museum celebrates the past, the Fishing Heritage Center celebrates the contemporary fishing industry.The Center offers free admission and provides engaging educational programs for people of all ages.
More art is to be found in nearby Westport, MA.


Where to Stay:

In addition to the larger chains, like the Fairfield Inn, Seaport Inn and Conference Center in Fairhaven, the area is home to charming Bed and Breakfasts like the Cranberry Gardens Inn; in nearby Wareham, Massachusetts (Contact: 508-295-9475 or the Delano Homestead & Gardens in Fairhaven (Contact: 508-992-5552;



Above: Dedee Shattuck Gallery, Photo by Neil Alexander


Dedee Shattuck Gallery (Just 25 minutes West of New Bedford)

A contemporary art gallery situated among acres of meadows and forests in neighboring Westport, Massachusetts, the Dedee Shattuck Gallery exhibits an ever-broadening selection of noted international, national, regional and emerging artists, and select artistic gifts — jewelry, scarves, tableware — establishing a cultural destination in the heart of Westport, Massachusetts (Contact: 508-636-4177;


Above: Partners Village Store & Kitchen, Photo by Tom Grotta


Partners Village Store and Kitchen (also 25 minutes West of New Bedford)

Just next door to the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport is Partners Store and Kitchen offering gifts, toys, books, cards, candy, specialty foods — great coffee and light dining. Come to shop, stay for lunch (Contact: 508.636.2572;
Decided to stay the night in New Bedford? You’ll be sure to find an option to please even the pickiest traveler.
Prefer a tried and true staple when choosing your accommodations? Post up at the Fairfield Inn or Seaport Inn and Conference Center in Fairhaven. Or, if B&Bs are more your style, the area is home to charming options like the Cranberry Gardens Inn, in nearby Wareham, MA or the Delano Homestead & Gardens in Fairhaven.
Your itinerary is almost complete – now for critical decisions. What will you eat?
There are some epic choices for fine dining in and near New Bedford.
A short walk from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, The Black Whale consistently serves phenomenal seafood. With a great drink menu and a great kids menu, the Black Whale is the perfect destination after a long day of sightseeing.
Cork Wine & Tapas is among the hidden gems of New Bedford. Offering a variety of wine flights, there is no chance you’ll leave this place displeased. Not to mention, the food is to die for. Cork’s menu offers everything from savory short rib tacos to delicious lobster crostini.
Margaret’s, in nearby Fairhaven, offers a variety like no other, and for an affordable price. Margaret’s is also known for their delicious breakfast; order the ‘Home Friends’ and I promise you won’t regret it. With amazing service and a cozy atmosphere, Margaret’s will become your home away from home.

Art Out and About: Abroad

Earlier this summer we published a blog post outlining current and upcoming exhibitions featuring browngrotta arts artists in North America. In addition to all of the exhibitions in North America, we have a ton of artists being featured in exhibitions abroad. Whether working in Denmark or vacationing in Greece take some time to relax and visit one of these spectacular exhibitions.

Jens Søndergaard with the touch of Ane Henriksen

Heltborg Museum (Thy, Denmark)

June 18-September 3

Ane Henriksen currently has a solo exhibition on view at the Heltborg Museum on the West Coast of Denmark. In Jens Søndergaard with the touch of Ane Henriksen, Henriksen uses weavings to interpret paintings by Jens Søndergaard. The weavings and paintings are on view at the Helborg Museum until September 3rd.

Jen Søndergaard with the touch of Ane Henriksen


A Darker Thread

Oriel Myrddin Gallery (Carmarthen, UK)

July 15-October 21  

Across the pond, there is A Darker Thread, at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen. Wales has been long celebrated for its’ distinctive textile design in both power-loomed blankets and hand stitched quilts. While all work in A Darker Thread references Welsh Culture or sense of place, artists were selected for their focus on the curious, the provocative, the humorous or the unpredictable. The exhibition features artists such as Alana Tyson, Laura Thomas and Ruth Harries. To compliment the exhibition there is a rich program of events over the summer for children and families. A Darker Thread is on show at the Oriel Myrddin until October 21st.

Treading Cloud by Spike Davis at A Darker Thread


Mountados, Tinos, Greece

July 22-August 22


For Labyrinth, 10 artists were challenged to create a piece of art for a box that would hang above the streets of the village Mountados on the island of Tinos. The network created by the alleyways of cycladic villages is reminiscent of a labyrinth, therefore why the theme was chosen for Mountados. Though labyrinths are often seen as a place to get lost, they are instead the places to find oneself. “In these troubled and uncertain times, we are once again seeking a path. Here we are in this labyrinth, confronted with the idea of the inner journey that each of us pursues, in the face of our hesitation, our halts, our choices,” explains Mireille Liénard “It is the discovery of this labyrinth, but also this journey to the depths of ourselves, that this new edition of the Biennale of Mountados offers us.”             

Stéphanie Jacques for Labyrinth

Tapestry: Here and Now

The Holbourne Museum (Bath, UK)

June 23-October 1

Tapestry: Here & Now surveys contemporary tapestry while also showcasing some of the most innovative approaches to tapestry by a variety of international talent. This exhibit includes Sara Brennan and is curated by Dr. Lesley Millar, who wrote an essay in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture. Each piece exhibits a development in the artist’s career, textile making or society as a whole. The exhibition also exemplifies how artists use their medium to engage with political, aesthetic and personal issues of contemporary relevance.  Edward McKnight Kauffer’s “The ‘Arts’ Tapestry” will be on public display for the first time. The tapestry depicts a muse-like figure holding an open book, while beside a globe and fluted ionic column, expressing the importance of understanding classical art and architecture. Tapestry: Here & Now will be on view at The Holbourne Museum, in Bath until October 1st.

Broken White Band with Pink by Sara Brennan, linen, wool, and cotton, 32” x 32”, 2008


Everyday matter, The Value of Textile Art

Textilmuseet, Borås

September 16 – January 28

Everyday matter, an exhibition presented by Nordic Textile Art (NTA) in collaboration with the Textile Museum of Sweden, chronicles the slow processes of textile art. The exhibition not only shows methods to eliminate time in the textile making process but also shows artists how to communicate through materiality. Every two years the European Textile Network holds a conference in a European country. This year, Borås and the Textile Museum of Sweden are co-hosting the conference. Four browngrotta arts artist have been selected to present work in Everyday matter, including Løvaas & Wagle,Ulla-Maija Wikman, Grethe Wittrock and Ane Henriksen.

Grethe Wittrock working on a piece for Everyday Matter

The Nordic Tapestry Opens in Washington Depot, CT

Helena Hernmarck

Helena Hernmarck talking about her work at the opening reception of The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression, photo by Tom Grotta

The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression opened on Saturday in Washington Depot, Connecticut at the Washington Art Association and Gallery, 4 Bryan Plaza and the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens at One Green Hill. The exhibition extends through September 9th. The Nordic Tapestry group was founded 10 years ago by weavers from Sweden, Iceland and the United States after tapestry artist Helena Hernmarck traveled to Sweden to teach workshops on her weaving technique. Combining traditional Swedish weaving techniques with her own method, Hernmarck is able to achieve powerful photorealistic effects by bundling a variety of hued yarns that combine to create an illusion of depth. With a common passion for textiles, members of the Nordic Tapestry group have a desire to learn more about how Hernmarck’s tapestries are made, how to use light and how to use the different qualities of yarn to create images. The exhibition highlights works by 21 of those students alongside Hernmarck’s works. Hernmarck’s Anemones (1985) dominates one of the exhibition galleries, attractively paired with the more recent and more translucent work, Amaryllis (2014). Holding their own in the large gallery are also Stone Bridge and the impressionistic Morning Haze, by Lis Korsgen, Hernmark’s very accomplished student.

Hernmarck Student Work

The Nordic Tapestry Group: Weaving Knowledge into Personal Expression

In the Washington Art Association building are other works from Face to Face, which reveals the Nordic Tapestry weavers shared passion and ongoing exchange, and celebrates the transfer and evolution of weaving knowledge into personal expression. Through these works, they display their interest in using light and color and exploring the different qualities of yarn to weave images, create space and depth, and to depict three-dimensional forms. Swedish weaving has had a influential history in this country, in exhibitions, in creating art for the United Nations and in the curriculum at Cranbrook. For a very comprehensive look at this influence, including the role Swedish weaving has played in the work of American weaver Lia Cook, read Marion T. Marzolf’s paper, for the Textile Society of America, The Swedish Presence in 20th-Century American Weaving,

The Nordic Tapestry Group

The Nordic Tapestry Group

Anniversary Alert: 10 Years of Feminist Art…

Anniversary Alert: 10 Years of Feminist Art in Brooklyn;
More Chances to Celebrate at MOMA, LongHouse Reserve and elsewhere

Faith Ringgold, Early Works #25: Self-Portrait, Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm), 1965. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Elizabeth A. Sackler, 2013.96. © artist or artist’s estate.
Photo: Jim Frank

Lots of opportunities to see work by women artists and consider their role in the canon. The centerpiece are the exhibitions and events that make up A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum which celebrates the10th anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. A Year of Yes recognizes feminism as a force for progressive change and takes the contributions of feminist art as its starting point. It reimagines next steps, expanding feminism from the struggle for gender parity to embrace broader social-justice issues of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. Among the exhibitions on view is We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, through September 17th, which presents a large and diverse group of artists and activists who lived and worked at the intersections of avant-garde art worlds, radical political movements, and profound social change, the exhibition features a wide array of work, including conceptual, performance, film, and video art, as well as photography, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Faith Ringgold, known for her quilts among other works, protested in the early 70s the Whitney Biennial’s prepondence of male artists. Ringgold also visited incarcerated women at Riker’s Island, and created a large painting there using their narratives, which is part of We Wanted a Revolution. Others artist included Alva Rogers, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems. Know before you go, with this primer from Artspace, 6 Black Radical Female Artists to Know Before You See We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85.” If you are tied up for the next month, you have a second chance to see the exhibition at the ICA in Boston when it opens there next June 26th.
Also upcoming at the Brooklyn Museum is Roots of “The Dinner Party”: History in the Making which opens October 20, 2017 and runs through March 2018. Since the 1970s, Judy Chicago has been a pioneer in the development of feminism as an artistic movement and an educational project that endeavors to restore women’s place in history. Her most influential and widely known work is the sweeping installation The Dinner Party (1974–79), on which Judy Mulford worked, celebrating women’s achievements in Western culture in the form of a meticulously executed banquet table set for 39 mythical and historical women and honoring 999 others.Roots of “The Dinner Party”: History in the Making is the first exhibition to examine Chicago’s evolving plans for The Dinner Party in depth, detailing its development as a multilayered artwork, a triumph of community art-making, and a testament to the power of historical revisionism. Chicago’s ambitious research project combatted the absence of women from mainstream historical narratives and blazed the trail for feminist art historical methodologies in an era of social change. It also validated mediums traditionally considered the domain of women and domestic labor, as the artist studied and experimented with China painting, porcelain and needlework.

Sheila Hicks, Prayer Rug, Hand-spun wool, 87 × 43″ (221
× 109.2 cm), 1965, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Dr. Mittelsten Schied, 1966

But that’s not all. You still have  four days to see the acclaimed MOMA exhibition, Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction which includes 100 works that “range from the boldly gestural canvases of Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell; the radical geometries by Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, and Gego; and the reductive abstractions of Agnes Martin, Anne Truitt, and Jo Baer; to the fiber weavings of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sheila Hicks, and Lenore Tawney; and the process-oriented sculptures of Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, and Eva Hesse. The exhibition will also feature many little-known treasures such as collages by Anne Ryan, photographs by Gertrudes Altschul, and recent acquisitions on view for the first time at MoMA by Ruth Asawa, Carol Rama, and Alma Woodsey Thomas.” Again, you can become well-informed before your visit (or visit online in lieu of inperson) with online resources, YouTube presentations, one when the exhibition opened and another, a tour of the exhibition with a MOMA curator.

Beginning on September 13th, the ICA, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, will present Nathalie Du Pasquier: BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT, a retrospective exploring the prolific creative practice of artist and designer Nathalie Du Pasquier on view from September 13 through December 23, 2017. A founding member of the Italian design collective Memphis, Du Pasquier’s work across painting, sculpture, drawing, installation and design demonstrates a unique and considered interpretation of space and objects. A catalog will accompany the exhibition. A collection of graphic and whimsical textile designs by Nathalie Du Pasquier and George Sowden has been released by 4 Spaces and Zigzag Zurich.

Nathalie Du Pasquier, Still life on my bicycle, oil on canvas, 39 x 59 inches, 2005. Courtesy of Kunsthalle Wien and the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania

Must these artists be categorized as “women artists”? That’s just one of the questions that Hampton’s artist, Toni Ross hopes to explore ina  series of conversations at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York. “In my mind this is a complex issue,” she writes. “I do believe that there are forces that confront all non-white male artists and that that conversation is evolving and changing rapidly. The Hamptons, with its rich history of artists includes many important women who broke ground for us, many whom may have been overshadowed by their more recognized partners. I look forward to the conversations in all of their complexities.” The conversations, in WOMEN ARTISTS: Reshaping the Conversation, A series of panel discussions in the LongHouse Garden will unfold in three events, beginning this Saturday:

Saturday, August 12, 11:00 am

Saturday, August 26, 11:00 am

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 am
additional panelists to be announced

Reservations to these events are required. RSVP to Mr. Jack Meyer at, 212.271.4283.

Art Assembled: A Round Up of July’s New This Week

July seemed to fly by here at browngrotta arts, but we still featured a full complement of New Art This Week. This month we had new pieces from Polly Adams Sutton, Jennifer Falck Linssen, Åse Ljones and Lenore Tawney.

Shady Lane by Polly Adams Sutton

2ps Shady Lane, Polly Adams Sutton
western red cedar bark, dyed ash, wire, cane, 16” x 12” x 9”, 2006 
Photo by Tom Grotta

Polly Adams Sutton’s basket Shady Lane is hand woven from pieces of western red cedar bark. With permission from logging operations, Sutton harvests the bark herself in the spring when the sap is running up from the roots of the trees. During her time spent collecting bark in the woods Sutton mulls over possible new forms she can weave. The manipulative qualities of cedar are the cornerstone of Sutton’s work, allowing her to bend the cedar as she desires.

Lucent by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Lucent by Jennifer Falck Linssen
Katagami-style hand-carved archival cotton paper aluminum, waxed linen, mica, paint and varnish
51 x 16 x 6 in, 2017

Through works like Lucent, Jennifer Falck Linssen explores the “delicacy of nature, the beauty of line, and the transformation of light and space.” By investigating both natural and manmade forms Linssen investigates how patterns lead to the overall strength of an objects, such as the veins in a plant or the structure of a moth’s wings. In her work, Linssen uses the ancient Japanese paper carving technique katagami. Katagami allows Linssen to bridge the gap between “human scale, the minute and intimate, and the vast and grand by freezing a moment in time, immortalizing it in pattern, light, and shadow.” Through these frozen moments, Linssen is sees humanity reflected in nature’s change, rebirth, resiliency and endurance.

Sound on the Fjord by Åse Ljones

Sound on the Fjord by Åse Ljones
hand embroidery on linen tapestry
99.5″ x 65.25″, 2014

Åse Ljones’ hand-embroidered tapestry Sound on the Fjord reflects Ljones’ upbringing on a small rural farm, where sea and nature were close by. Ljones starts her embroidery at either the corner or center of a piece of fabric. From there she takes her time sewing, reflecting along the way. Ljones never sews a wrong stitch, believing that a mistake it often what creates a dynamic space.

Tension by Lenore Tanwey

77t Tension, Lenore Tanwey
india ink drawing; number 9; pen and ink drawing
22.5″ 26.5″ x 1.5”, 10/23/64, Tom Grotta

Tension is one in a series of graph paper and pen-and-ink drawings Lenore Tawney started in 1964 inspired by her study of the Jacquard loom. Later in the 1990s Tawney converted some of the pen-and-ink drawings into thread sculptures in a series titled Drawings in Air. Tawney’s geometric explorations predated Sol Lewitt’s celebrated grid drawings, which were first exhibited by Paula Cooper in 1968. Tawney, whose work shaped the course of fiber art during the second half of the 20th century, is also well known for her tapestries, collages and assemblages.