Category: Who Said What

Who Said What: Josef Albers

“Easy to know that diamonds– are precious good to know that rubies — have depth but more–to see–that pebbles–are miraculous.”
Josef Albers

Pebble Sphere Sculpture by Dail Behennah
Large Pebble Sphere by Dail Behennah
Detail of The Seashore stone ribbons by Keiji Nio
Detail of The Seashore by Keiji Nio, polyester, aramid fiber 48” x 48,” 2019
Thirty Year stone Calendar Art by Sue Lawty
Triginta Annis (Thirty Years in Latin), Sue Lawty, natural stone on gesso 27” x 26”, 2017

We Told You So: Fiber Art Continues to Trend

22sh/r Color Alphabet Tapestry by Sheila Hicks, wool, silk, 6’ x 6’, 1982. Photo by Tom Grotta

22sh/r Color Alphabet Tapestry by Sheila Hicks, wool, silk, 6’ x 6’, 1982. Photo by Tom Grotta

Last year we predicted that fiber art’s new-found popularity would continue into 2015. You need not take just our word for that — take the Wall Street Journal’s. Earlier this month, the paper identified fiber as the “Art World’ New Material Obsession,” and dubbed Sheila Hicks and Françoise Grossen “overlooked masters.” The short piece quotes Sheila Hicks, “I always joke that fiber is my alphabet. I can say an unlimited range of things.” (The Hicks’ work featured here, Color Alphabet Tapestry (1982), is an ideal example.) The New York Time’s review of Françoise Grossen’s long-awaited US survey exhibition, “Françoise Grossen, a Fabric Artist Inspired by Other Fields,”

FROM THE MERMAID SERIES IV, Francoise Grossen, poly, metal, paper, braided, 16" x 72" x 72"

FROM THE MERMAID SERIES IV, Francoise Grossen, poly, metal, paper, braided, 16″ x 72″ x 72″
review-francoise-grossen-a-fabric-artist-inspired-by-other-fields.html, adds additional context. The author, Martha Schwendener, quotes Grossen describing the approach of pathmaking fabric artists of the 60s, “First we broke with the rectangle, then we broke with the wall.” Interested in learning more? The contemporary art fabric movement is discussed (and illustrated) in our recent catalogs, Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture, with essays by Jo Ann C. Stabb and Lesley Milar, MBE and Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now with an Essay by Ezra Shales, PhD

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture...then and now catalog cover artwork by Federica Luzzi

Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now
catalog cover artwork by Federica Luzzi

Looking Forward/Looking Back: Sherman F. Lee

Details of Adela Akers 1988 Midnight and 2011 Triptych. Adela is one of the artists who was included in the 1977 Fiberworks exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Her work will be included in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture this fall at browngrotta arts.

“The 20th century has been a period of numerous experiments in the arts based on new concepts, materials and techniques which have proliferated as never before in history. Some of these new developments, however, have been only fashionable and have been inappropriate exploitations of materials or techniques for very vague and general ideas. Among the exceptions to these trends, enjoying widespread and lasting success, has been the use of fibrous materials to create aesthetic equivalents of sculptures and paintings.

Adela Akers 1960 portrait. Photo Archives of American Art, Courtesy of the artist.

New tools, techniques and synthetic fibers have fired artists’ imaginations. The variety of effects possible range from the predominantly decorative to the highly expressive. And unlike some other recent developments in the arts, contemporary fiber works rest firmly on long and substantial traditions from all major cultures. Although many new and significant forms have already appeared, the future seems to offer even further possiibiities for the growth of this art.”
Sherman F. Lee, then-Director
Cleveland Museum of Art 1977
from the Forward for Fiberworks catalog, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1977

Who Said What: Ada Louise Huxtable

Ethel Stein preparing a warp, photo by Tom Grotta

What has set handcrafts apart, and always will, is the individual vision and extraordinary skill of those who create a unique, material work that can range from the practical to the abstract. The union of that vision and skill has an emotional charge lacking in impersonal articles of mass production, delivered with an unapologetic emphasis on the delight of the thing itself. That kind of direct, pleasurable response is almost totally lacking in the gloom and grunge of the arts today.

Coming in from the Cold,” Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2011.

Who Said What: Isaiah Zagar

“Art should not be segregated in museums: it needs to live free among us.”

Isaiah Zagar Magic Garden, Photo by Tom Grotta


Isaiah Zagar, a renowned muralist, is the creator of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a mosaiced folk art environment, gallery space and nonprofit organization. Created over several decades and spanning half a city block, the Magic Gardens is Zagar’s largest artwork. It includes a fully tiled indoor space and a massive outdoor labyrinthine mosaic sculpture garden that incorporates Latin American and Asian Statutes, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, Zagar’s handmade tiles and thousands of glittering mirrors

Who Said What: Roman Kraeussl

“In strictly financial terms, art investing is unattractive. Its risks include attribution errors, fakes, forgeries, thefts and physical damage. Furthermore, it involves high transaction, insurance, maintenance and restoration costs, and it has no current cash flow––money comes only when works are sold. Artworks are heterogenous, illiquid and sold on the subjective, segmented and almost monopolistic market in which no valuation guidelines exist. Investors must perform their own due diligence. But art works, unlike stocks, bonds, real estate and certain funds, provide aesthetic returns as well as financial ones. It is when these aesthetic aspects are combined with the financial behavior of the assets that it gets interesting.” Roman Kraeussl, Professor at VU University Amsterdam, specializing in research on art investment.

From “A Conversation with Roman Kraeussl,” Art + Auction, April 2011, page 48. For more on art as an investment, track down Art + Auction’s April issue, which features the magazine’s annual art investment guide:

Who Said What: Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu: At Home, Hunterdon Museum of Art Clifton, NJ, 1998, photo by Tom Grotta

“You are not an artist simply because you paint or sculpt or make pots that cannot be used. An artist is a poet in his or her own medium. And when an artist produces a good piece, that work has mystery, an unsaid quality; it is alive.”

Toshiko Takaezu
(1933 -2011)

Who Said What: Andy Warhol

Looking for inspiration?  Apparently, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions… Finally one lady friend asked the right question, ‘Well, what do you love most?’ That’s how I started painting money.”  Andy Warhol

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Who Said What: Gregory Cerio


In the summer 2010 issue of Modern, Editor Gregory Cerio, makes an interesting observation about work at SOFA (the Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art exposition) and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s Design Triennial. In Surprised by Sincerity, Cerio admits that he was skeptical of both (despite some fine pieces at the first SOFA he attended, “a voice in the back of my mind kept whispering words like ‘macrame’ and ‘patchouli oil’ “), but writes that his “travels through the leafy glades of the high-end design market have forced a reassessment.” At “fashionable fairs” and “tony galleries” he  has seen works “done with a smirk, or of design by irony.” Cerio says that he has to come to realize that at SOFA and the Cooper-Hewitt, by contrast,”they are presenting work made with honesty and conviction.” To read the entire editorial, get a copy of Modern at