Category: Museums

Art Out and About: Exhibits in the US and Abroad

Lia Cook's work on display at Coded Threads: Textiles & Technologies

Lia Cook’s work on display at Coded Threads: Textiles & Technologies, Photo: Lia Cook

Art of interest can be found across the US and abroad this winter. Out West, Lia Cook and browngrotta art’s friend Carol Westfall are both featured in Coded Threads: Textiles and Technology in the Western Gallery at Western Washington University. The fourteen artists in the exhibition were chosen for their use of new textile technologies. Despite the fact that technology is changing lives and art rapidly, the earliest textile techniques are still practiced (basket weaving, indigo dying, etc.) The exhibition recognizes the importance of maintaining a connection to the past while seizing the opportunities that lie ahead with innovative textiles technology. Artists are now using spider silk, nanotechnology, biocouture, smart textiles (conductive threads, fiber optics) and Arduino microprocessors as materials for their work. The creation and use of these materials have fostered collaborative relationships between scientists, artist, and engineers. For example, Lia Cook works in collaboration with neuroscientists to investigate the natural response to woven faces by mapping the responses in the brain. She uses DSI (Diffusion Spectrum Imaging of the brain) and TrackVis software to view the structural neuronal connections between parts of the brain and then integrates the resulting “fiber tracks” with weaving materials to make up the woven translation of an image. Coded Threads: Textiles and Technology is on display in the Western Gallery at Western Washington University until December 8th. Do not miss the chance to glimpse at the future of textile art!

Flow: The Carved Paper Work of Jennifer Falck Linssen 

Flow: The Carved Paper Work of Jennifer Falck Linssen, Photo: Jennifer Falck Linssen

If you’re in the Midwest make sure to go see Flow: The Carved Paper Work of Jennifer Falck Linssen before it closes at the Talley Gallery in Bemidji, Minnesota on October 27th. “The impetus for Flow began one cold January week when Wisconsin artist Jennifer Falck Linssen escaped the frozen north for the lush green vegetation and mild temperatures of the Florida coast,” notes Laura Goliaszewski, the Talley’s Gallery Director. As Linssen was kayaking and hiking, she noticed the large population of birds making their new homes along the coast. Linssen began to consider how the diverse landscapes and climates of Florida and Wisconsin serve the seasonal needs of birds. A series of swooping, swerving wall sculptures that send viewers’ eyes aloft is the result.

Are We The Same?, Norma Minkowitz, mixed media, 12” x 28” x 26.375”, 2016, Photo: Tom Grotta

Of Art and Craft, on display in the Flinn Gallery at the Greenwich Library, on the East Coast, explores the division between Art and Craft. The exhibition displays creations of glass, clay and fiber, which are all traditionally considered “craft materials.” However, the talent and skill present in all of the resulting pieces without a doubt make the pieces art, in the view of the exhibition’s curators. The exhibition features clay sculptures from Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong, Susan Eisen, and Phyllis Kudder Sullivan; glass work from Kathleen Mulcahy, Josh Simpson, and Adam Waimon; as well as fiber explorations by Emily Barletta, Ellen Schiffman and browngrotta arts artist Norma Minkowitz. Minkowitz, a resident of Westport, CT, has seven pieces featured in the exhibition, all of which use a variety of materials. Minkowitz’s piece in the exhibition Goodbye My Friend exemplifies her commitment to conveying the intimacy and imperfection of the human hand. “The interlacing technique that I use makes it possible for me to convey the fragile, the hidden, and the mysterious qualities of my work, in psychological statements that invite the viewer to interpret and contemplate my art,” explains Minkowtiz. Minkowitz is set to give a talk at the Flinn Gallery on November 5th at 2pm. Of Art and Craft will be on display at the Flinn Gallery from October 26th through December 6th.

This Way and That, 2013, Gyöngy Laky. Cut and assembled manzanita wood painted with acrylic paint and secured with trim screws. Photo: Bruce M. White© Lloyd Cotsen, 2016

This Way and That, 2013, Gyöngy Laky. Cut and assembled manzanita wood painted with acrylic paint and secured with trim screws. Photo: Bruce M. White© Lloyd Cotsen, 2016

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, which was previously at the Racine Art Museum, is currently on display in the Textile Museum at The George Washington University Museum. Art collector Lloyd Costen challenged 36 international fiber artist to create a piece of work in the parameters of an archival box. 10 browngrotta arts artist have work on display in The Box ProjectHelena HernmarckAgenta HobinKiyomi IwataLewis KnaussNaomi KobayashiNancy KoenigsbergGyöngy LakyHeidrun SchimmelHisako Sekijima and Sherri Smith. The exhibition will be on display at The George Washington University Museum through January 29th.

Essence Iki at the Dronninglund Kunstcenter in Denmark, Photo: Yuko Takada Keller

 

 

Out side the US, Essence Iki at the Dronninglund Kunstcenter in Denmark, celebrates 150 years of diplomatic cooperation between Japan and Denmark. Browngrotta arts artist Jane Balsgaard is one of six artists featured in the exhibtion, three from Denmark and three from Japan. Featured are objects, room dividers and Balsgaard’s majestic, airbound boats of paper. The exhibition will be on display at the Dronninglund Kunstcenter until December 11th

Open Form, Laura Ellen Bacon, willow, 2016, Photo: Matthew Ling

Open Form, Laura Ellen Bacon, willow, 2016, Photo: Matthew Ling

BBC Woman’s Hour Craft Prize nominee Laura Ellen Bacon also has a solo exhibition on display at the National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford, UK. The exhibition, titled Rooted in Instinct demonstrates the process Bacon goes through when crafting a new sculpture or installation while also displaying a variety of Bacon’s new thatching, weaving and knotting techniques. Once an old seed warehouse, The National Centre for Craft & Design is the largest venue in England entirely dedicated to the exhibition, celebration, support, and promotion of national and international contemporary craft and design. Rooted in Instinct will be on display until January 14th.

In Lodz, Poland, at the Central Museum of Textiles, this winter will see an exhibition of the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz and, in January, a solo exhibition of the work of Włodzimierz Cygan that will include his luminous Tapping series made of optical fibers. For more information, watch the Museum’s website HERE

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

Labyrinth

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


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
CHRISTOPHE DE MENIL
MICHELE OKE DONER
APRIL GORNIK
UZOAMAKA MADUKA
NEDA YOUNG

Saturday, August 26, 11:00 am
JOAN JULIET BUCK
ANDREA GROVER
BARBARA ROSE
MICHELLE STUART
TERRIE SULTAN

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 am
ALICE AYCOCK
PERNILLA HOLMES
BASTIENNE SCHMIDT
ALMOND ZIGMUND
additional panelists to be announced

Reservations to these events are required. RSVP to Mr. Jack Meyer at jack.meyer@gsmltd.net, 212.271.4283.


Textiles At Tate Modern in London

These are exciting days at the Tate Modern in London for fans of art textiles. You’ll find fiber works by important artists in several different galleries.

Beyond Craft, in the Boiler House, curated by Ann Coxon features three pioneers, Lenore Tawney, Olga de Amaral and Sheila Hicks, who experimented with different weaving techniques, often looking to historical or indigenous textiles for inspiration. De Amaral and Hicks were particularly inspired by the technical brilliance of Peruvian weavings made before European colonization. The Museum notes that many artists in the 1960s were using weaving and knotting to create innovative hangings and sculptures, integrating traditional craft techniques into fine art practice. “The 1960s saw several high-profile exhibitions of ‘fiber art’: textile techniques used to create unique art objects without a practical function. These three artists were among those who attempted to collapse the hierarchy that sets fine art above craft. While this distinction has not entirely disappeared, in recent years fiber art has become a source of inspiration for a new generation of artists and curators and the artists displayed here are receiving fresh consideration.”

Peruvian by Lenore Tawney

Peruvian by Lenore Tawney, linen double weave , 86″ x 18″, circa 1962-83
Lenore, like many artist of the 1960s, was drew inspiration for her weaving from indigenous Peruvian weavings. Photo credit: Tom Grotta

Lekythos by Lenore Tawney, linen; woven, knotted, 50” x 31-3/4” x 1-3/4”, 1962,
Photo: George Erml

In Magdalena Abakanowicz, also in the Boilerhouse, viewers can explore Abakanowicz’s stitched cloth sculptures inspired by biological systems, organic matter, and regeneration. “Made at a time of political tension between the Soviet Union and Poland, Abakanowicz has said the work ‘could be understood as a cry from behind the Iron Curtain’,” says the Museum notes. (That was the time frame in which Anne and Jacques Baruch brought Abakanowicz’ work to the US, the subject of browngrotta arts’ catalog, Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection.)

Embryology by Magdalena Abakanowicz, burlap, cotton gauze, hemp rope, nylon and sisal, 2009
Photo: Tate Photography

Elsewhere in the Boilerhouse is a work by El Anatsui, who completely transforms the most pedestrian materials into art. By flattening bottle tops and stitching them together into a shimmering metal cloth, he turns familiar disposable objects into something that appears precious and alters them in the viewers’ eyes. Taking a similar approach to the mundane, Sheela Gowda from India has created a room-sized installation made of car bumpers and handwoven human hair, an observation on “the coexistence of ritual and superstition alongside modern urban and economic transformation.”

Ink Splash II by El Anatsui, aluminum and copper, 9.35 ft x 12.24 ft, 2012
Photo: Tate Photography

Want to know more? Visit the Museum’s website to see images and to read New Yarn, Tate, etc. Essay: Textiles and Art by Kirsty Bell: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/new-yarns


Make a Day of It: Still Crazy After All These Years and Other Events Nearby

We hope you’re planning a trip to browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut to visit Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art between April 22nd and 30th. If you have some time, here are a few other nearby activities to consider:

exhibition catalogs

Suzanne McClelland and Beth Campbell at the Allrich Museum

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, just up the street from browngrotta arts at 258 Main Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut, is presenting Suzanne McClelland’s exhibition Just Left Feel Right—a collection of McClelland’s selected artwork that spans her more than two-decade career. Now through September 4, viewers can witness how these textured art pieces collaborate to capture the eruptive and disparate voices of a shifting American vernacular and its effect on the ways humans communicate in our hyperkinetic time. Also on display at the museum is Beth Campbell’s My Potential Future Past. Campbell’s art forms range from drawings to sculptures and installations. She uses a series of objects to exploits the “what ifs” associated with the choices we make and how those choices shape who we eventually become.

Hours:

Wednesday through Monday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Closed Tuesday

Dr Seuss exhibition

Wilton Historical Society Dr Seuss political Cartoon

Dr. Seuss, Political Cartoons & the Battle over Isolationism vs. Intervention

Wilton Historical Society:

224 Danbury Road

Wilton, CT 06897

203.762.7257

Through compelling cartoons and historic prints, Wilton Historical Society’s Dr. Seuss, Political Cartoons & the Battle over Isolationism vs. Intervention exhibition illustrates the history of America’s shifting attitudes toward foreign policies and two major world wars. Now on display until October 15, this collection explores how, through creative cartooning, artists—like Dr. Seuss—portrayed America’s efforts to remain neutral during WWI, as well as its engagement in WWII.

Hours:

Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Nearby activities: Annual Book Sale

Wilton Library’s Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser

Also in Wilton next weekend,

Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser

Wilton Library

137 Old Ridgefield Road

Wilton, CT 06897

April 22nd 7 a.m.–9 p.m.

April 23rd Noon–5 p.m.

April 24th 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

April 25th 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

The Wilton Book sale, Wilton library’s annual gigantic book sale, features more than 70,000 items sorted into more than 50 categories—mysteries, gardening, travel, and science fiction; gently used, collectible, rare books, DVD’s, CD’s and books on CD.

Katonah Museum of Art exhibition

Picturing Love: Photography’s Pursuit of Intimacy at the Katonah Museum of Art

Picturing Love: Photography’s Pursuit of Intimacy Exhibition; Interactive Picture Wall

Katonah Museum of Art:

134 Jay Street–Route 22

Katonah, NY 10536

914.232.9555

Now until June 25, the Katonah Museum of Art is presenting Picturing Love: Photography’s Pursuit of Intimacy. This collection includes photography from forty renowned and anonymous artists that have captured portrayals of intimacy among various people and relationships. Through these candid photographs, the exhibition investigates the formidable history of photography and how love is presented and imparted through the single act of taking a photo.

Inspired by its Picturing Love exhibition, the museum is also featuring a new interactive picture wall that transports guests into a real working photo studio. Guests pose for photographs and choose from a variety of themes, backdrops and materials to create images that express affection.

Hours:

Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Closed Monday


Art Out and About: Exhibits Across the US, Eastern Edition

Norma Minkowitz Goodbye Goddess

Norma Minkowitz Goodbye Goddess, 2003, permanent collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum

Here’s a list of exhibitions, podcasts and lectures well worth seeking out in February, March and April. In Connecticut, at the Wadsworth Athenuem in Hartford SHE: Images of Female Power from the Permanent Collection is on exhibit through April 2, 2017. The exhibition considers: What does female power look like? The intimate installation takes that question as a starting point to consider works from across the Wadsworth Atheneum’s collections, from Egyptian sculpture to Pre-Columbian ceramics to photography and textiles by contemporary artists. Included are images of goddesses, queens and protectresses. The exhibition features works by Ana Mendieta, Elizabeth Catlett, Lorraine O’Grady, Norma Minkowitz and Mario Carreño, among others. Norma Minkowitz will speak at the museum on March 30th @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm followed by a guided visit to her groundbreaking sculpture Goodbye Goddess. Also in Connecticut, at the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas examines intersections between the art-making and art-collecting strategies of the Alberses, two of the most influential figures of 20th-century modernism. As the Gallery notes explain, “Between 1935 and 1967, the couple made numerous trips to Latin America, namely Mexico and Peru, and amassed a large collection of ancient artworks from the region. The exhibition looks at these objects in depth and considers how Anni and Josef’s collection supported their aesthetic sensibilities and teaching practice. In addition to objects from the ancient Americas, the show gathers together dozens of works that the couple made, including textiles, paintings, works on paper, and rarely studied photographs that Josef took at archaeological sites and museums.” Demonstrating the Alberses’ deep and sustained engagement with ancient American art, Small-Great Objects explores a fascinating dimension of the couple’s creative vision. This exhibition is accompanied by a free podcast, available in the gallery space and online at http://soundcloud.com/yaleartgallery/sets/small-great-objects. In Massachusetts, 31 works by international artists are included in Excellence in Fibers at the New Bedford Museum of Art. Organized by Fiber Art Now magazine, submissions from around the world were reviewed by jurors Emily Zilber, Curator, MFA Boston; artists Gerhardt Knodel and Norma Minkowitz and Melissa Leventon, former curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Rachel Max Basket

After Haeckel II by
Rachel Max, 2015 Photo by Tom Grotta

Rachel Max is among the artists selected for Excellence in Fibers. You can read more about her work in the Winter double edition of Fiber Art Now in an article by John Hopper: http://fiberartnow.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/FAN-winter-2016-17-issuu.pdf. In New York at the Museum of Arts and Design,

Françoise Grossen sculpture

Embryo by Françoise Grossen. Photo by Tom Grotta

Françoise Grossen Selects remains on exhibit through March 15th. “Grossen has mined the Museum’s permanent collection,” the Museum writes, “and brought her own rope sculptures together with a selection of work from MAD’s unusual collection of baskets, as well as other work in fiber, wood, and metal….Grossen’s selections highlight an approach to contemporary sculpture that focuses on the artist’s direct transformation of material and links it to a wider discussion about ways of making in culture at large.”

On Sunday, February 19th at 2 p.m., MAD’s Windgate Research and Collections Curator, Elissa Auther, will discuss the historical context of Grossen’s work. Auther will also discuss the advance of thread, rope, string, felt and fabric from the “low” world of craft to the “high” world of art in the 1960s and ’70s, as well as the prominence of fiber in art today. For more information visit: http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/françoise-grossen-selects.


Dispatches: Los Angeles for The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum

In the 2000s, collector Lloyd Cotsen and his then-curator the late Mary Kahelberg began what would become The Box Project: Uncommon Threads, commissioning 36 international, contemporary artists to work within a given set of parameters. They were challenged to work within the confines of an archival box—to create one-of-a-kind works of art. What followed were years of fascinating correspondence with the artists who would participate in the project. As expected, each interpreted the challenge in his or her own way, resulting in an exceedingly diverse collection of works that reflects the artists’ skill and creativity. Most of the pieces in the show are presented in their accompanying 23″ by 14″ by 3” or 14” by 14″ by 3″ boxes.

The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum Opening

The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum Opening

 

The exhibition showcases these skilled artists’ ingenious use—and often-expansive definitions—of fiber, while exploring the collector/artist relationship. The exhibition couples the box commissions with other examples of the participating artists’ larger works. Also included are some of the letters and drawings and maquettes for the exhibition — a fascinating glimpse of the creative process.

Helena Hernmarck installation, The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum. Photo by tom Grotta

Helena Hernmarck’s “box” installation and one of her larger tapestries. Photo by Tom Grotta

The 36 artists whose work appears in this exhibition are Masae Bamba, James Bassler, Mary Bero, Zane Berzina, N. Dash, Virginia Davis, Carson Fox, Shigeki Fukumoto, John Garrett, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Helena Hernmarck,  Pat Hodson, Kiyomi Iwata, Gere Kavanaugh, Ai Kijima, Hideaki Kizaki, Lewis Knauss, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gerhardt Knodel, Naomi Kobayashi, Gyöngy Laky, Paola Moreno, Jun Mitsuhashi, Kyoko Nitta, Hisako Sekijima, Barbara Murak, Cynthia Schira, Heidrun Schimmel, Carol Shinn, Sherri Smith, Hadi Tabatabai, Koji Takaki, Aune Taamal, Richard Tuttle, and Peter Weber. Work by 10 of those included is available through browngrotta arts.

Artist Talk. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artists’ panel. Photo by Tom Grotta

On September 10th, three of the artists involved, Gere Kavanaugh, Gyöngy Laky, and Hisako Sekijima joined the curator of the Cotsen Collection, Lyssa C. Stapleton, in a conversation about their respective processes and resulting “boxes.” We were fortunate to attend their talk and to catch up with a number of artist, collector and curator friends.

Hisako Sekijima in front of her works at The Box Project Exhibition at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Hisako Sekijima in front of her box project. Photo by Tom Grotta

“The box is a technical tool and also a spatial construct,” Sekijima told the audience, “which gave me freedom.” The artist used the box, she explained, as a mold in which multiple baskets were integrated whole.” Kavanaugh spoke at length of her work as a designer for Lloyd Cotsen, including her design of the brightly colored Neutrogena headquarters.

Laky talked about her work and the influence of the environment and feminism on her work — including her free-standing word sculpture, Slowly, composed of letters that can be read as LAG or GAL, and which was motivated by Laky’s efforts in improve gender equity in hiring in the University of California system.

Gyongy Laky. Photo by Tom Grotta

Gyongy Laky with her box project to the right and a larger work above. Photo by Tom Grotta

On October 14th, in Culture Fix, Lacy Simkowitz, curatorial assistant at the Cotsen Collection, who worked closely with artists featured in The Box Project, will discuss how the exhibition developed. From mining the archives to decisions about the exhibition checklist, Simkowitz played a key role in the development of the traveling exhibition. In this gallery talk, she will discuss case studies by James Bassler, Ai Kijima and Cynthia Schira and she share behind-the-scenes stories about the exhibition planning process.

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

Crowds lining up for the opening reception of The Box Project at the Fowler Museum. Photo by Tom Grotta

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads is at the Fowler through January 15, 2017. The Fowler is located on the UCLA campus, 308 Charles E. Young Drive, North, Los Angeles, California 90024; 310.825.4361.


Art Events: Birds on the Brain in New York and Massachusetts

Minkowitz Bird Stitch Drawing

61nm Patterns of Flight II, Norma Minkowitz, stitched, drawn, collage, pen and ink on paper, 20 x 14.75″, 2015

Perhaps it’s in the air —  or are three avian-themed art exhibitions in one season a mere coincidence? In any event, there are three very different takes on a popular theme for viewers to sample. At the Shirley Fiterman Art Center, 81 Barclay Street, New York, NY, 10007 is The Conference of the Birds, curated by painter Brenda Zlamany. The Conference of the Birds, is based on a poem composed in the 12th century by the Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar, about an epic, mystical quest narrative in which hundreds of birds embark on a perilous journey in search of a king called the Simurgh, who can right the wrongs in their world. Attar’s poem can be seen as a metaphor for the often perilous journey of self-discovery that artists face. This metaphor and the rich imagery of birds in the poem are the gravitational glue that brings together a diverse group of works for this exhibition, which features 36 artists. Among those included are Lesley Dill and Norma Minkowitz, who is exhibiting works from her new Patterns of Flight Series, which combines detailed drawings, collage and stitching. The Gallery, located at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. For more information, go to: http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/sfac/.

Birds Norma Minkowitz

The Gathering by Norma Minkowitz
mixed media, 2016

At the Katonah Museum of Art through June 19th, is theThe Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, which provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world The Katonah Museum of Art is at 134 Jay Street/Route 22, Katonah, New York, and is closed on Mondays http://www.katonahmuseum.org/exhibitions/TheNest/Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest is at Mass Audubon in Lincoln, Massachusetts now through September 18th. The featured artist, Julie Zickefoose, is an author, artist and naturalist in addition to being a wildlife rehabilitator. She works in a variety of mediums, though primarily watercolors, leaving the viewer with the sense that connectivity is important to all of us. Also on exhibit at Mass Audubon is Classic American Bird Carving: An Introduction. The Museum is located on a 121-acre wildlife sanctuary and has a collection of engravings and lithographs by John James Audubon and related works by many other artists including sculptor Larry Barth, Charly Harper and 100 prints from his Endangered Species series that were donated by Andy Warhol. The Museum of American Bird Art is at 963 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021;781-821-8853; http://www.massaudubon.org/learn/museum-of-american-bird-art/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/baby-birds-an-artist-looks-into-the-nest-watercolors-by-julie-zickefoose.


Make a Day of It: Artboom and Events Nearby

pictured works by: Christine Joy, Debra Sachs and Lilla Kulka; Photo by Tom Grotta; browngrotta arts

pictured works by: Christine Joy, Debra Sachs and Lilla Kulka; Photo by Tom Grotta; browngrotta arts

Artboom: Celebrating Artists, Mid-Century, Mid-Career opens at browngrotta arts in Wilton, Connecticut next Saturday April 30th, 12 -6 p.m. The exhibition is open through May 8th; hours from May 1st to May 8th are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., earlier or later by appointment. When you are in our neighborhood, there are other art events that are well worth visiting:

Wilton Historical Society Basket Exhibition

Wilton Historical Society Basket Exhibition

The Wilton Historical Society, just down the road from bga in Wilton at 224 Danbury Road/Rt. 7, has
Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makers, http://www.wiltonhistorical.org/exhibitions.html on exhibit, which showcases several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts, along with work by Jonathan Kline, Stephen Zeh, Lois Russell and Kari Lonning. Curated by Shawna Barrett, the works by contemporary basketmakers who use natural materials like brown ash, black ash, hickory, willow and reed are thoughtfully displayed aside unique historic baskets from the Society’s permanent collection. The Historical Society is closed Mondays.

Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Photo by Tom Grotta

Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Photo by Tom Grotta

From May 1st, Davis Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, will be on exhibit at the Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut: http://aldrichart.org/article/continuous-service-altered-daily just north of us at 258 Main Street/Ridgefield Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut. “The stunning array of dismantled John Deere combine parts, exhibited in a diverse system of presentation, are designated according to the ecosystem service they represent, making it impossible to conceive of the combine in its entirety or to determine the machine’s complete functionality; similarly, an ecosystem integrates innumerable processes, many of them intangible or undetectable, into one whole, making it impossible for us to conceive of a life unfolding within it.” The Aldrich is closed on Tuesdays.

Paul Villinski, Self-Portrait (Detail), 2014, Steel, birds nest, 68 x 20 x 8 inches Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York

Paul Villinski, Self-Portrait (Detail), 2014, Steel, birds nest, 68 x 20 x 8 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York

The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, at the Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street/Route 22, Katonah, New York, provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of the birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world http://www.katonahmuseum.org/exhibitions/TheNest/ The Katonah Museum is closed on Mondays.


Organic Portraits: John F. Cooper at the Morris Museum with Green from the Get Go

John Cooper: Organic Portraits exhibition. Photo by John Cooper

John Cooper: Organic Portraits exhibition. Photo by John Cooper

From March 19th to June 26th, the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey will exhibit Organic Portraits: John F. Cooper in conjunction with Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary BasketmakersPhotographer John F. Cooper’s Organic Portraits series and his book of the same name are the result of a creative project that has has been part of his life for well over a decade. “From the beginning,” Cooper explains, “the intent of the Organic Portraits project was to create a series of timeless and fundamentally beautiful images that would create awareness for—and help preserve—the world’s rainforests. In the 1950s, around the time I was born, about 15 percent of Earth’s landmass was covered with oxygen-generating and carbon-dioxide storing rainforests. As of the time of this book’s publication, fewer than 70 percent of those forests remain; more of these crucial ecosystems could disappear by the close of this decade. It is my belief they benefit the world more by being present rather than existing only in photographs, videos and the annals of history. The aim of this project is to drive home the understanding that our rainforests— the lungs of our Earth— are both vital and in dire need of protection.” Cooper published Organic Portraits through a Kickstarter campaign; Cooper is donating all profits from the book, which is available in the Museum’s bookstore, to the Rainforest Action Network Fund.KS

The photographs in Organic Portraits feature models posed against classic and simple backdrops and incorporating natural elements into each model’s hair to create a unique hair sculpture. Most of the photographs produced for Organic Portraits utilized large-format Polaroid film. Polaroid is now extinct; it’s eerily prophetic that the very medium used to create a series of images intended to preserve the world’s rainforests is now, itself, no longer. The cameras used in the series –each a work of art in their own right –were a 1950 8×10 Deardorff View Camera, and a 1980 4×5 Deardorff View Camera. Handcrafted from mahogany and brass, they are beautiful pieces of functional sculpture that were designed to last. The cameras are no longer manufactured and only a handful survive in the world today.

A set of 13 John F. Cooper Postcards printed on paper made of 100% post-consumer content and is available at the Museum's bookstore

A set of 13 John F. Cooper Postcards printed on paper made of 100% post-consumer content and is available at the Museum’s store

In creating these works, Cooper received generous support from 100 models, fashion designers, backdrop painters and studios,  Peter D. Brown, who fabricated the organic hair sculptures and environmental advocates Summer Rayne Oakes and Nicolas Rachline. “The images we have created are as beautiful as they were when they were first born in our imaginations,” says Cooper. “The cause that they support—saving our rainforests and the indigenous people who call them home—is as vital, no, more so, than when the project first began.”

The Opening Reception for Organic Portraits and Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers will take place on March 31st from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. John F. Cooper will speak  about his photographs at Tea and Treasures  on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The Morris Museum is located at: 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960, accessible from New York City via www.njtransit.com. For more information: (973) 971-3700; info@morrismuseum.org or http://www.johnfcooper.com.