Tag: Nancy Koenigsberg

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.

Books Make Great Gifts: Our Annual Artists’ Reading Round Up

Another year of interesting and inspirational book recommendations from browngrotta arts’ artists and staff. History, humor, poetry, philosophy — it’s all here. I recently read Listening to Stone: The Art & Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera

Dona Anderson reports, “I recently read Listening to Stone: The Art & Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera. Noguchi created Black Sun, a sculpture in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. Postwar, Noguchi was increasingly involved in designing public spaces — the UNESCO garden in Paris, Yale University’s Beinecke Library Garden, the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden in Jerusalem — while still creating personal work. His aim, he said was to form ‘order out of chaos, a myth out of the world, a sense of belonging out of loneliness.’ Building Art: The Life & Work of Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger

My current read is Building Art: The Life & Work of Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger.” Chris Drury loved John McPhee’s Coming into the Country – although, he notes, it is an older book now – about Alaska. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Ceca Georgieva read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and is currently reading, The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel by F.G. Haghenbeck. Don't Despair by Matias Dalsgaard Helena Hernmarck recommends, Don’t Despair by Matias Dalsgaard (www.pinetribe.com; Twitter:@MatiasDalsgaard). Dalsgaard is a Danish scholar who has a background in comparative literature and postdoctoral degree in philosophy. The book offers a Lutheran-Kirkegaardian perspective on life, criticizing the modern perspective of being self-centered and ultimately despaired. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story, by Dan Harris Helena also found 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually WorksA True Story, by Dan Harris, a fun read. For Tim Johnson, 2015 was a great year for personal book discoveries! “After years of being out of print and hard to find Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver’s influential Adhocism, The Case for Improvisation was republished in 2013 (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/adhocism). Adhocism, The Case for Improvisation When I first held this book in the 1980s it offered a thoughtful contextualization to the real life process of gathering and recycling urban materials for my sculptures and installations. With contemporary concerns of upcycling and sustainability, Jencks’ and Silvers’ assertions seem more apt than ever.” Nancy Koenigsberg recommends a favorite from 2014, Fiber Sculpture: 1960-Present by Jenelle PorterFiber Sculpture: 1960-Present by Jenelle Porter. Mary Merkel-Hess says her favorite book on art this year was Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry, a British ceramic artist, described by one reviewer as “a man in a frock who makes pots with rude designs.” Mary describes it as “a quirky, personal and lively journey through the issues facing the contemporary art world and a lot of it is hilarious – especially the illustrations.”
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt Heidrun Schimmel read, “with great pleasure,” The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (Simon and Shuster, New York 2014). “And not always with great pleasure,” Heidrun says she read, All the World's Futures: 56 International Art Exhibition All the World’s Futures: 56 International Art Exhibition, the catalogues for this year’s Venice Bienniale. “Most of the essays are very interesting and important,” she writes. “There were some very good pavilions in the Giardini this year, for example the Japanese Pavillon for the textile art scene.” Hisako Sekijima recommends a book in Japanese, U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Japan in the Cold War Era Tokyo Press U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Japan in the Cold War Era (only the title is in English; the contents are in Japanese. It’s a 300-page hardcover book published by University of Tokyo Press, 2015) It is an extensive study done by Fumiko Fujita, ex-professor at Tsuda College. “Actually, the author is my college friend,” writes Hisako. Reading this book, she “happily” realized that she had been exposed to much of this cultural climate after the World War, as she grew up. “From home comedies, like Lassie to Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man, I learned — and was surprised — at the large extent to which numberless cultural programs had been politically planned to create a good partnership between US and Japan.” She was also surprised to learn such programs had been also worked to be less political or more culturally meaningful by the efforts done by enthusiastic and respectful private people like cultural attachés, artists or sports players. “I liked this latter part of the story! Though planned politically, such rich programs proved to influence us so much. I studied English and could enjoy my chance to live in NYC, where I came across with new waves in crafts.” Kay Sekimachi recommends Masters of Craft: Portraits by Paul Smith (and so do Tom and Rhonda) and also The Monocle Guide to Cozy Homes, edited by Tom Morris, Monocle (Gestalten, Berlin. 2015). Last Spring, Wendy Wahl began teaching, Soft Materials, a course in the department of Constructed Environments at Parson’s New School in New York. “In researching books for the course,” she writes, “I was reintroduced to Fabrics: A Guide for Interior Designers and Architects, by Mary Paul Yates (W.W.Norton). Imagine my delight to see the inclusion of Fiber Art and the images from browngrotta arts. At a rare and used bookstore I came upon The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery and Lore of the Persian Carpet by Brian MurphyThe Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery and Lore of the Persian Carpet by Brian Murphy (Simon and Schuster). The author takes the reader on a magic carpet ride traveling in the regions of its origins and destinations to tell the stories of the dyers, weavers and sellers of this remarkable art form. At my local public library I found Textiles --The Whole Story: Uses, Meanings, Significance by Beverly Gordon Textiles –The Whole Story: Uses, Meanings, Significance by Beverly Gordon (Thames and Hudson, 2011). With words and images she beautifully covers the uses, meanings and significance of textiles in the course of human history, as the subtitle suggests.” The Genome Rhapsodies
Randy Walker writes, “At the risk of appearing immodest, I’m recommending a book of poetry, The Genome Rhapsodies, that has one of my pieces on the cover. And I’m not even an avid poetry reader. When I was approached by Anna George Meek, a friend and accomplished poet, about using an image of my first public art installation, Woven Corncrib, on the cover of her new collection of poems, I was, of course, honored. But that’s not why I’m recommending this book. As we worked together to find an appropriate image, a series of conversations ensued over several months. These conversations were about histories, found objects, genetic material, fibers of all kinds woven throughout our lives. Gradually, I began to see clearly why Anna would venture to adorn her book, winner of the Richard Snyder Publication Prize and a product of over 15 years of work, with an image of an old steel corn crib woven with 300 pounds of salvaged fiber. Reading these poems, some deeply personal, opened an expansive view to me of a world that, as a primarily visual person, I don’t usually glimpse.” Tom and Rhonda recommend Organic Portraits, a photography book by John Cooper. Organic Portraits by John CooperCooper’s organic portraits will be on exhibit this Spring at the Morris Museum in New Jersey in conjunction with Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, from March 19 to June 26, 2015. “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. At the time of this book’s publication, fewer than 70% of those forests remain. 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; he is donating all profits from the book to the Rainforest Action Network Fund.

We hope your holidays provide you lots of leisure reading time!

Books Make Great Gifts: 2014 Edition

As in previous years, artists represented by browngrotta arts have an eclectic and interesting list of books to recommend, art-related and otherwise. Thanks to dozen-plus artists who made suggestions, 18 books in all.

Tamiko Kawata reports that she had the chance to read a few books while icing her injured shoulder after therapy, first three times a day, then two times. She enjoyedHaruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. She is now reading — and enjoying — Even Back.Then.the.Fox.Was.the.HunterHerta Muller, Even Back Then, the Fox Was the Hunter.

Mary Merkel-Hess recommends Pilgrim.on.the.Great.Bird.ContinentPilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. “It is the gracefully written account of how, during his five years on the Beagle, Charles Darwin became an accomplished naturalist who could discern scientific truths from the creatures he studied. “ she writes. “Haupt documents this transformation by concentrating on Darwin’s lesser-known writings, particularly his notebooks. At points it reads like a travelogue and a manual for bird watchers. I found it fascinating.”

“I do not get to read books as much as I like,” writes Kiyomi Iwata, ” but the best book I read this year wasThe.Grief.of.Others.Leah.Hager.Cohen The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen. Even though she is very young — my daughter’s age — I found her prose most sensitive, insightful and compassionate. Her most recent book is No.Book.but.the.World.A.NovelNo Book for the World, which I am still reading.”

The most inspirational book Toshio Sekiji read this year was Korea.Economic.drilled.throughKorean Economy Drilled Through by Lee Hong Chang, which was originally published in Korea by Bobmun-sha,1999, the Japanese translation was by Hosei University Press in 2004. The book illuminates the dramatic changes from the medieval age to the modern age. It was one of a number of related books Toshio has read over the last two years as he prepared a report, “Korean Lacquer Culture through Neolithic Age to Modern Age” for the Bulletin of the Lacquer Art Museum in Wajima, Japan.

Ulla-Maija Vikman most enjoyed Flayed.ThoughtsNyljettyjä ajatuksia (Flayed Thoughts) by Juha Hurme. In Finnish only at this point, it’s a story of a 700-mile, 20-day rowing journey in which the characters eat, camp on islets and beaches and discuss what is essential and how what’s essential is transmitted.

There are two recommendations from Ruth Malinowski: The.Hare.With.Amber.EyesThe Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, recommended last year by Kay Sekimachi (and published by Rhonda’s other employer, FSG/Macmillan) and 1913: The Year Before the Storm1913.The.Year.Before.the.Storm by Florian Illies. The latter highlights developments in literature and art, as well as politics, covering the lives of Kafka, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Camille Claudel, Freud, Stalin, Hitler and some Royalty. Wars, love letters, art thefts and many more events from1913 are cleverly combined in 12 chapters, each reflecting a calendar month.

Ceca Georgieva rated ShantaramShantaram by Gregory David Roberts as her most inspirational read of the year. (Full disclosure, this one is also published by Rhonda’s other employer, St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan and a book she also quite enjoyed. It’s been optioned by Johnny Depp and the movie is currently in production.)

“Of the many inspiring reads this year,” writes Wendy Wahl, “two authors stand out who had an impact on my work as a visual artist interested in the potency of printed text on paper. I was given The.Size.of.ThoughtsNicholson Baker’s The Size of Thoughts, by my husband when I was trying to weave together seemingly disparate yet connected ideas that sometimes are considered mundane and should be thought of as blessed into a cohesive short story. Baker’s style reminded me to keep doing what I was doing. I went onto read his Double.Fold.Libraries.and.the.Assault.on.PaperDouble Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, which became the inspiration for a sculpture I made this year that shares its name. One of my favorite library activities is to stroll through the stacks with my head cocked to one side and my index finger underlining titles vertically to see what’s there. I was delighted to come upon On Paper,On.Paper.The.Everything.of.Its.2000.Year.History The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas Basbanes, ‘a self-confessed bibliophiliac.’ I’ve checked this book out several times, paid late fees and, since I can’t write in this copy, I realize I must own it.”

Five art books got the nod from our artist/correspondents including Iridescent.LightIridescent Light: The Emergence of Northwest Art by Deloris Tarzan Ament with photographs by Mary Randlett. Dona Anderson “enjoyed immensely” Ament’s profiles of 21 artists who lived and worked in Washington State during formative periods in their careers, profiles that blend discussion of their work and commentary on the obstacles they faced and the influences they brought to bear on one another.

Scott Rothstein rates Bharany.CollectionsA Passionate Eye: Textiles, Paintings and Sculptures from the Bharany Collections, Giles Tillotson, ed. as a “great book.” Mr. Bharany is Scott’s “Indian Father.” He is very involved with textiles as well as paintings and other Indian art forms. Scott says, “I had tea with him three times a week when I lived there and we get back to India almost every year, mostly to spend time with him. He is around 88 years old, so we feel we need to be with him as much as we can.” The book on Judith Scott, Judith.Scott.Bound.UnboundJudith Scott, Bound and Unbound, he recommends, too — more for the photos than the text.

Nancy Koenigsberg found the volume created to accompany the traveling exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Fiber Sculpture 1960-presentFiber: Sculpture 1960 to the Present (available on our website, browngrotta.com), “a must read for fiber people,  makers and buyers — especially young artists who don’t know who some of these artists are. I was really surprised to discover that!!,” she says.

“My favorite book for this year,” writes Adela Akers, “is, without a doubt: In the Realm of NatureIn The Realm Of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi (available on our website, browngrotta.com). A beautiful book, well conceived with excellent writing by Signe S. Mayfield. The life history of these two wonderful artists is beautifully intertwined with perfect images of their work. What a pleasure!”

Wishing you all new year that provides plenty of time for pleasure reading!

Art Out and About: Exhibitions Across the US

Coast-to-coast cultural opportunities to enjoy in August and through to November.

Traced Memories by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

Traced Memories by Adela Akers, photo by Tom Grotta

San Francisco, California
Adela Akers: Traced Memories, Artist-in-Residence
Through August 31st
Wednesdays–Sundays, 1–5 pm, plus Friday nights until 8:45 pm
Artist Reception: Friday, August 29, 6–8:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco de Young/Legion of Honor
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, California
Textile artist Adela Akers has moved her studio to the de Young for a month. Visitors to the new studio will learn how each choice in her art-making process contributes to the unique character and quality of her work. Throughout her residency, Akers will invite visitors to engage in hands-on activities that explore her creative process—from inspiration and research to preparation of the materials she has selected to convey her concept to creation and final presentation of the finished artworks. Akers’s work has been influenced and informed by pre-Columbian textiles and, most recently, paintings by women of the Mbuti people of the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Journeying from one point to another has been a physical and transformative reality in her life, increasing her self-confidence and expanding her vision of the world. Akers feels fortunate to have made these geographical voyages and to have experienced country living’s broad horizons and quiet strength, the power of nature and the palpitating rhythm of cities.

Athena by Nancy Koenigsberg, photo by Tom Grotta

Athena by Nancy Koenigsberg, photo by Tom Grotta

Brockton, Massachusetts
Game Changers: Fiber Art Masters and Innovators
Through November 23rd
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA
“Game changers” are artists, past and present, who continuously revisit traditional techniques and materials while developing revolutionary approaches in the realm of fiber art. Every work in the exhibition was chosen to showcase the individual practice of each invited artist. These creators epitomize the dynamism and fluidity of work in fiber. Artists featured in the exhibition include: Olga de Amaral, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Mary Bero, Nancy Moore Bess, Archie Brennan, John Cardin, Lia Cook, John Garrett, Jan Hopkins, Mary Lee Hu, Lissa Hunter, Diane Itter, Michael James, Naomi Kobayashi, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyongy Laky, Chunghie Lee, Kari Lonning, Susan Martin Maffei, John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Michael F. Rohde, Ed Rossbach and Kay Sekimachi.

Midland Museum Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, photo by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Midland Museum Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, photo by Jennifer Falck Linssen

Midland, Michigan
Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture
Through September 7th
Alden B. Dow Museum
Midland Center for the Arts
1801 West Saint Andrews Road
Midland, Michigan
The works by eight artists featured in Forming: The Synergy Between Basketry and Sculpture, including Jennifer Falck Linssen, were designed and executed as alternative approaches to sculptural form, in which the line dissolves between traditional basketry and contemporary sculpture. A selection of artists from across America inquisitively open our eyes to new alternatives in basketry and fiber-based sculptural form. The craftsmanship is superb, the creative and technical finesse is complex while the vision is beyond today yet with inspiration from long-revered fiber traditions.

Midland, Michigan
Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art

Cocoon by Jiro Yonezawa, photo by Tom Grotta

Cocoon by Jiro Yonezawa, photo by Tom Grotta

Through September 7th
Alden B. Dow Museum
Midlands Center for the Arts
1801 West Saint Andrews Road
Midland, Michigan

Bamboo is a quintessential part of Japanese culture, shaping the country’s social, artistic, and spiritual landscape. Although bamboo is a prolific natural resource, it is a challenging artistic medium. There are fewer than 100 professional bamboo artists in Japan today. Mastering the art form requires decades of meticulous practice while learning how to harvest, split, and plait the bamboo. Modern Twist brings 38 exceptional works by 17 artists, including Jiro Yonezawa, to U.S. audiences, celebrating the artists who have helped to redefine a traditional craft as a modern genre, inventing unexpected new forms and pushing the medium to groundbreaking levels of conceptual, technical, and artistic ingenuity.

29ww EB mixed editions #12, Wendy Wahl, Encylodpedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24" x 32" x 1.5",  2011 photo by Tom Grotta

29ww EB mixed editions #12, Wendy Wahl, Encylodpedia Britanica pages, poplar frame, 24″ x 32″ x 1.5″, 2011
photo by Tom Grotta

Jamestown, Rhode Island
Through August 30th
Wed. – Sat. 10am – 2pm
Jamestown Arts Center
18 Valley Street
Jamestown, Rhode Island
Paper art is emerging as a global phenomenon. PAPER-MADE explores paper’s transformation from an everyday object into an exquisite three dimensional sculptural artwork. The exhibit’s title PAPER-MADE is a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the “ready-made,” since paper is an everyday object. The alchemic transformation from simple paper to art highlights the artist’s creativity and demonstrates the limitless potential of the art form. Eighteen showcased artists, including Wendy Wahl, explore this material’s ephemeral nature and beauty. Each artist explores different qualities of paper, from hand-made paper and paper string, to site-specific installation made of book pages, from Korean joomchi paper to found lottery tickets and archival photographs.

Objects of Desire Gift Guide: Part Four — The Concierge Collection

Are you looking for an overlooked, understated, exceptional gift? We’ve culled just such a selection for The Concierge Collection. Priced from $55 to $5000, in this grouping you’ll find good reads and items from our back room that we are surprised have not yet been acquired.

Conceirge Gifts
1) LITTLE RED, Grethe Wittrock
paper, aluminum, 69″ x 14″ x 9″, 2009

2) BALANCING II, Irina Kolesnikova
flax, silk, paper, hand woven, 21″ x 16″, 2009

3) TRACES 3 RELIEF, Mia Olsson
sisal and coconut fibers on blastered acrylic glass, 
14″ x 11.875″ x 1.25″, 2006

4)TRACES 4 RELIEF, Mia Olsson
sisal and coconut fibers on blastered acrylic glass, 
14″ x 11.875″ x 1.25″, 2006

5) TOURBILLIONSimone Pheulpincotton, slate, 7.75″ x 7.75 x 2.25″ , 2009

6) TOURBILLION, Simone Pheulpin, cotton, slate, 7.75″ x 7.75 x 2.25″ , 2009

7) TOURBILLION, Simone Pheulpin, cotton, slate, 7.75″ x 7.75 x 2.25″ , 2009

8) TERRA ALTERIUS I, Caroline Bartlett
dyed, discharged, foiled, stitched linen, 
37″ x 32″, 2005

9) SUSPENDED RED, Nancy Koenigsberg
polynylon coated copper wire, 16″ x 16″ x 16″, 1998

10) WALTZ, Jennifer Falck Linssen
archival cotton paper, waxed linen, coated copper wire, aluminum, stainless steel, seagrass, paint, and varnish

(katagami-style handcarved paper.), 16” x 14” x 4”, 2008

11) PAGODA P, Naomi Kobayashi
cotton and aluminum cast, 2.75” x 11.5” x 11.5”, each

12) PAGODA B, Naomi Kobayashi
cotton and aluminum cast, 2.75” x 11.5” x 11.5”, each

13) TINY BOAT, Jane Balsgaard
homegrown willow and plant paper, 11″ x 24″ x 9.5”, 2010

14) RETRO/PROSPECTIVE: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture Catalog, 184  pages; 248 photos

15) KAMOSU, Naoko Serino
jute, 6.75″ x 6.75″ x 6.75″, 2009

16) LOOP AND RETURN, Laura Thomas
cotton encapsulated in acrylic, 
6.375″ x 6.375″ x 3.25″, 2009

17) YOUNG WIRE POD, Debra Sachs
wood, paper twine, copper wire, copper tacks, mixed polymers, 
36″ x 7.5 x 7.5″

Conceirge Gifts

This Month’s Don’t Miss Exhibitions

through January 20, 2013
High Fiber: Recent Large Scale Acquisitions in Fiber
Racine Art Museum
Racine, Wisconsin

Ahnen Galerie by Françoise Grossen

Ahnen Galerie by Françoise Grossen

High Fiber transforms RAM’s largest gallery space with larger-than-life size sculpture by significant contemporary artists who have established reputations working with fibers such as fabric, metal wire, and cedar. Created with techniques like weaving and knotting––and touching on a variety of subjects including metaphysics, the human condition, and the natural world––the works featured in this exhibition delight the eye and engage the mind. The artists whose work is included are: Nancy Hemenway Barton, Carol Eckert, Françoise Grossen, Jan Hopkins, Michael James, Ruth Lee Kao, Nancy Koenigsberg, Gyöngy Laky, Rebecca Medel, Linda Kelly Osborne, Barbara Lee Smith, Jean Stamsta, Merle Temkin, Dawn Walden and Claire Zeisler. For more information, call: 262.638.8300 or visit: http://www.ramart.org/sites/default/files/userfiles/exhibitions/2012/HighFiber/High Fiber Notes.pdf.

opened January 12th

Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, Visitor Center GalleryGrosse Pointe, Michigan


Green from the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers installation at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, photo by tom grotta

Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, curated by browngrotta arts and Jane Milosch, former curator of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, opens at the Visitor Center Gallery of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and runs through March 9th. The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is at 110 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, 48236. Hours are 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information call: 313.884.4222 or visit: http://www.fordhouse.org/calendar.html?month=&year=&cat=&cid=8691.

opened January 12th
Aleksandra (Sasha) Stoyanov: Warp and Weft Painting
Tefen Open Museum
P.O.B. 1
Migdal Tefen, Israel 24959
Art Gallery: 04-9109613; Visitors Department: 04-9872022; 04-9109609


Aleksandra Stoyanov Tefen Open Museum Installation, photo courtesy of the Tefen Open Museum


The Tefen Open Museum exhibition features a large grouping of Stoyanov’s painterly weavings, whose subjects feel like dream fragments or half-forgotten memories. There is a catalog for the exhibition, which is open through August 2013, http://www.omuseums.org.il/museum/sitePage.aspx?pageID=1044&Place=1. It features an essay by Davira Taragin and will be available through browngrotta arts. Stoyanov’s work, From the First Person – Number II, has recently been added to the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

opening January 17th
Lenore Tawney: Wholly Unlooked For
University of the Arts
Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Book of Foot by Lenore Tawney, photo by Tom Grotta

Book of Foot by Lenore Tawney, photo by Tom Grotta

The University of the Arts presents an exhibition by late artist Lenore Tawney (1907–2007), a leading figure in the contemporary fiber arts movement. Presented in conjunction with the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, the exhibition, which runs through March 2nd, will feature her paper-focused pieces. For more information, visit: http://www.uarts.edu/events/alumni/2013/01/lenore-tawney-wholly-unlooked.The Maryland Institute College of Art, Tawney’s alma mater, is hosting a complementary exhibition, http://www.mica.edu/News/Multi-Venue_Exhibition_Honors_Legendary_Fiber_Artist_Lenore_Tawney_H92_(1907–2007)_This_Winter_.html under the same, title featuring her line-based objects.

Opening Reception: January 24, 5 – 7:30 p.m.
University of the Arts
Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Panel Discussion: January 24, 2 – 4 p.m.
The Legacy of Lenore Tawney
University of the Arts
CBS Auditorium, Hamilton Hall
Panelists: Jack Lenor Larsen: dean of Modern Textile Design, founder of LongHouse, Honory Doctorate, University of the Arts; Kathleen Nugent Mangan: director of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation; Dr. Suzanne Hudson: assistant professor, University of Southern California; Warren Seelig: artist, distinguished visiting professor, University of the Arts; Moderator: Sid Sachs: director of exhibitions, University of the Arts.

opening January 22nd
MFA Book Arts and Crafts/Fibers Exhibition
Gallery 224 & President’s Office
University of the Arts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This exhibit features work by University of the Arts students in the MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking and Crafts/Fibers programs, who have each created a piece in response to Lenore Tawney’s work. The students researched an extraordinary collection of objects from the Lenore Tawney Foundation, including old books and parts of old books, wood containers, small bottles and thread, which they incorporated and used as inspiration for their exhibition pieces. The exhibition runs through February 8th. For more information, visit: http://www.uarts.edu/events/alumni/2013/01/mfa-book-arts-and-craftsfibers-exhibition.

November 26th: Our Online Exhibition Opens With an Offer for CyberMonday

On Monday, November 26th, browngrotta arts will present an online version of our 25th anniversary exhibition,Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture at browngrotta.com. The comprehensive exhibition highlights browngrotta arts’ 25 years promoting international contemporary art. Viewers can click on any image in the online exhibition to reach a page with more information about the artists and their work.

“Some works in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture reflect the early days of contemporary textile art and sculpture movement,” says Tom Grotta, founder and co-curator at browngrotta arts. “There are also current works by both established and emerging artists, which provide an indication of where the movement is now and where it may be headed.”

Since Monday the 26th is CyberMonday this year, sales of art, books, catalogs, videos or dvds placed online or by telephone that day will be discounted 10% (excluding tax and shipping). In addition, bga will make a donation to the International Child Art Foundation for each sale made from November 24th through December 31, 2012. Visit browngrotta.com. For more information call Tom at 203.834.0623 or email us at art@browngrotta.com.

Dispatches: All Things Considered IV and More at the Fuller Craft Museum

We traveled to Brockton, Massachusetts this weekend to see juried works by members of the National Basketry Organization at the Fuller Craft Museum http://www.fullercraft.org/exhibitions.html#Basketry.

Sunrise Artifact by Mary Giles

Woven Vessel by Jonathan Kline

Marked by a Sapsucker by Dorothy Gill Barnes








Among the highlights in our view: Sunrise Artifact by Mary Giles;  Woven Vessel by Jonathan Kline; Marked by a Sapsucker by Dorothy Gill BarnesTipped by Nancy Koenigsberg a Basket Book #5 by Arlene McGonagle (of course, we’re suckers for anything related to books). Most impressive, however, were works that appeared to be diptychs.  First, was a pair of  large works, Cave and Snag by Linda Bills, made a year apart, but seamlessly echoing each other in shape and offering an intriguing contrast in volume.

Tipped by Nancy Koenigsberg

Basket Book #5 by Arlene McGonagle

Cave and Snag by Linda Bills







Second was a single piece, Wait, Weight by Jo Stealey, that seems to be two, interlocking basket/bowls of letters (yes, she had us at “A”). The show, which runs through December 11th, is worth seeing — with 85 pieces there is considerable variety in materials, technique and aesthetic. The exhibition would have benefited from more white space, however. The works are placed so close to one another it requires a second walkthrough to really focus on individual pieces.

Union by Christine Joy

Memories by Judy Mulford

Sidestep by Dona Anderson

Untitled 1985 by Kay Sekimachi

Kibiso III by Kiyomi Iwata

Wait Weight by Jo Sealey

CHAT by Jiro Yonezawa

Cradle to Cradle by Gyongy Laky

Calycanthus by Marion Hildebrandt




















If you can get there before Loom and Lathe: The Art of Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stocksdale closes on September 11, 2011, do. There are interesting works by Kay Sekimachi in this show that did not appear in previous exhibitions of these artists’ work. Although this exhibition also features a large number of pieces in a limited space, as a result of Stocksdale’s and Sekimachi’s minimalist aesthetic and muted color palette, the installation is more successful.


We missed Fold It: Deena Schnitman, an installation of cookbooks which is on view in the café because we didn’t know it was there.  We didn’t miss the Flint Farm Stand, though, just down the road in Mansfield.  Great fresh corn and ice cream that has people standing in line.

Dusk by Norma Minkowitz

All Things Considered IV includes 12 artists whose work is represented by browngrotta arts.  Click any image to see more examples of these artists’ work.

Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA 02301

Dispatches: The 13th International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz


Identification by Aleksandra Stoyanov, sisal and cotton, 250x80, 230x180cm

Morning Light.jpg

Morning Night by Nancy Koenigsberg, Size: 78" x 88" 15", coated copper wire and glass beads

The 13th International Triennial of Tapestry opened this week at the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland.  The exhibition includes work by 130 artists from 51 countries.  Among the participants are Nancy Koenigsberg of the United States, Aleksandra Stoyanov of Israel and Anda Klancic of Slovenia.  The international jury, which includes Kyoko Kumai, Professor of the Nagaoka Institute of Art Design, Japan, has “highly commended” seven of the works in the exhibition.  One of the works commended by the jury was Footpaths, by Anda Klancic. During the Triennial, cities throughout Poland will present shows of fiberworks by local and international artists. The exhibition ends on October 31, 2010. Central Museum of Textiles. ul. Piotrkowska 282, 93 – 034 Łódź, Poland; (0 42) 683 26 84.

FOOTPATHS II whole piece Anda Klancic photo Francesco Montenero 10nov09 005.jpg

FOOTPATHS II by Anda Klancic photo Francesco Montenero

Technorati Tags: Tapestry, Triennial of Tapestry

Technorati Tags: Tapestry, Triennial of Tapestry, Kyoko Kumai, Nancy Koenigsberg, Aleksandra Stoyanov

Books Make Great Gifts, Part I Artist Recommendations

My day job is in publishing, and thanks to browngrotta arts’ catalog publishing program, my night job is too. We’ve got books and papers everywhere. My rules for 2010: No pile of papers, books or magazines may grow taller than two feet and there may not be more than six piles (that are mine) in the house at one time. That’s 12 feet of reading for next year. You’d think that would be enough, but maybe not. So, I asked artists whose work browngrotta arts represents for book recommendations. Specifically: “Is there a book that has had a particular influence on your work or decision to pursue art as a career?” Here’s the first installment of their thoughtful replies: Gyöngy Laky: It is difficult for me to think of a particular book that launched me into what I am doing today…there have been many and it was long ago that I set out on this path in art! But, there is one general art history book that I bought as a young person when I spent a year studying art and French in Paris in 1963-64! And, funny enough… it was titled The Loom of Art by Germain Bazin, curator of the Louvre (Simon Schuster, NY, 1962) probably way out of print! The book is beautiful and I have it and love it still. More recently my friend, who is a builder, designer, wood collector extraordinaire, Paul Discoe, put out a book on his work, Zen Architecture: The Building Process as Practice (with Alexandra Quinn, Gibbs Smith, 2008). It is a wonderful book. He collects street trees and mills them and uses them in his work so he is dear to my heart. Another book, for children, but adults love it too is If… (Getty Trust Publications : J. Paul Getty Museum) IF (Getty Publications; J. Paul Getty Museum; First Edition edition 1995) by another artist friend of mine, Sarah Perry. And, of course, I love and am inspired by Martin Puryear (The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2007) by John Elderfield, Elizabeth Reede, Richard Powell, Michael Auping, Martin Puryear. Scott Rothstein: Here is one I love: Lucie Rie by Tony Birks (Marston House 1994). I feel this book documents her work very well. I am always amazed at the “drawing” she could do with glaze. Kay Sekimachi: Yes, there is a book. Anni Albers: On Designing (Wesleyan 1971). It was my weaving “Bible”. In fact everything she wrote makes so much sense to me. Nancy Koenigsberg: I have worked as an artist – painter, rug designer, knitter – for many years, but when I read Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric: Mainstream by Mildred Constantine/Jack Larsen (Van Nostrand Reinhold 1972) it just turned my ideas and work upside down. I saw what was possible with the materials I was using and what else was out there. That book opened up a whole new world to me. Mary Merkel-Hess: Your question has set me thinking about exactly why I did choose art as a career. I think, actually, the desire originated in the ethnographic collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum where I whiled away hours between classes looking at objects from South America, Africa and Europe. But, back to your question. A book that is much on my mind just recently is The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty by Soetsu Yanagi (Kodansha International, Revised edition, 1990). One of my first trips after arriving in Tokyo three weeks ago was to the Mingeikan, Yanagi’s museum and home. It was a delight, after so many years, to see some of the work pictured in the book. Yanagi’s theory that hard, repetitive practice resulted eventually in the disengagement of self and led to work of merit produced with ease was an inspiration to me. I was a young grad student when I first read the book and at the time every day was a struggle. Kate Hunt: The Savage Mind (Nature of Human Society) by Claude Levi-Strauss (University Of Chicago Press, 1968). The introduction made me think about the role of an artist and about materials.