Tag: Sheila Hicks

Lives well lived: Sandra Grotta

Sandra Grotta at her 80th birthday party. Jewelry by David Watkins, Gerd Rothmann and Eva Eisler. Photo by Tom Grotta

browngrotta arts is devasted by the loss of Sandra Grotta, our extraordinary collector and patron and mother and grandmother. Sandy and her husband Lou have been pivotal in the growth of browngrotta arts through their advice and unerring support. Sandy graduated from the University of Michigan and the New York School of Interior Design. For four decades, she provided interior design assistance to dozens of clients — many through more than one home and office. She encouraged them to live with craft art, as she and Lou had done, placing works by Toshiko Takezu, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Helena Hernmarck, Gyöngy Laky, Markku Kosonen, Mary Merkel-Hess and many other artists in her clients’ homes. Among her greatest design talents was persuading people to de-accession pieces they had inherited, but never loved, to make way for art and furnishings that provided them joy. Sandy was a uniquely confident collector and she shared that conviction with her clients.  

Her own collecting journey began in the late 1950s, when she and Lou first stepped into the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York City after a visit to the Museum of Modern Art. “The Museum’s exhibitions, many of whose objects were for sale in its store, caused a case of love at first sight. It quickly became a founding source of many craft purchases to follow,” Sandy told Patricia Malarcher in 1982 (“Crafts,” The New York Times, Patricia Malarcher, October 24, 1982). It was a walnut table ”with heart” on view at MoCC that would irrevocably alter the collectors’ approach. The table was by Joyce and Edgar Anderson, also from New Jersey. The Grottas sought the artists out and commissioned the first of many works commissioned and acquired throughout the artists’ lifetimes, including a roll-top desk, maple server and a sofa-and-table unit that now live in browngrotta arts’ gallery space. She followed the advice she would give to others:  “When we saw the Andersons’ woodwork,” Sandy remembered, “we knew everything else had to go,” Sandy told Glenn Adamson. From the success of that first commission, the Grottas’ art exploration path was set. The Andersons introduced the Grottas to their friends, ceramists Toshiko Takaezu and William Wyman. “The Andersons were our bridge to other major makers in what we believe to have been the golden age of contemporary craft,” Sandy said, “and the impetus to my becoming our decorator.”  

Sandra Grotta in her Maplewood, NJ living room
Sandra Grotta in her Maplewood, NJ living room surrounded by works by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Peter Vouklos, William Wyman, Toshiko Takaezu, Rudy Autio, Joyce and Edgar Anderson and Charle Loloma. Photo by Tom Grotta

When Objects USA: the Johnson Wax Collection, opened in New York in 1972 at MoCC, by then renamed the American Craft Museum, the Grottas began discovering work further afield. ”Objects USA was my Bible,” Sandy told Malarcher describing how she would search out artists, ceramists, woodworkers and jewelers. A trip to Ariel, Washington, led the Grottas to commission an eight-foot-tall Kwakiutl totem pole for the front hall by Chief Don Lelooska. Sandy ordered a bracelet by Charles Loloma from a picture in a magazine. ”I always got a little nervous when the packages came, but I’ve never been disappointed,” Sandy told Malarcher. ”Craftsmen are a special breed.” Toshiko Takaezu, as an example, would require interested collectors like the Grottas to come by her studio in Princeton, NJ, a few times first to “interview” before she’d permit them to acquire special works. It took 15 years and several studio visits each year for the Grottas to convince the artist to part with the “moon pot” that anchors their formidable Takaezu collection. Jewelers Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins in the UK also became dear friends as Sandy developed a world-class jewelry collection. At one point, in a relationship that included weekly transatlantic calls, Sandy told Wendy she needed “everyday earrings.” Wendy responded with earrings for every day – seven pairs in fact. “For me, the surprise was that they found me,” says John McQueen. “I lived in Western New York state far from the hubbub of the art world.” McQueen says that he discovered they the Grotta’s were completely open to any new aesthetic experience. “from that moment, we established a strong connection, that has led to a rapport that has continued through the years – a close personal and professional relationship.”

Sandy Grotta's bust by Norma Minkowitz
Norma Minkowitz’s portrait of Sandy Grotta sourounded by artwork’s by Alexander Lichtveld, Bodil Manz, Lenore Tawney, Ann Hollandale, Kay Sekimachi, Ed Rossbach, Toshiko Takaezu, Laurie Hall. Photo by Tom Grotta

Their accumulation of objects has grown to include more that 300 works of art and pieces of jewelry by dozens of artists, and with their Richard Meier home, has been the subject of two books. The most recent, The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft, was photographed and designed by Tom Grotta of bga. They don’t consider themselves collectors in the traditional sense, content to exhibit art on just walls and surfaces. Sandy and Lou’s efforts were aimed at creating a home. They filled every aspect of their lives with handcrafted objects from silver- and tableware to teapots to clothing to studio jewelry and commissioned pillows, throws and canes, a direction she also recommended for her interior design clients. The result, writes Glenn Adamson in The Grotta Home,”is a home that is at once totally livable and deeply aesthetic.” Among the additional artists whose work the Grottas acquired for their home were wood worker Thomas Hucker, textile and fiber artists Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney and Norma Minkowitz, ceramists Peter Voulkos, Ken Ferguson and William Wyman and jewelers Gijs Bakker, Giampaolo Babetto, Axel Russmeyer and Eva Eisler. They have traveled to Japan, the UK, Czechoslovakia, Germany and across the US to view art and architecture and meet with artists.

Perhaps their most ambitious commission was the Grotta House, by Richard Meier. Designed to house and highlight craft and completed in 1989, it is a source of constant delight for the couple, with its shifting light, showcased views of woodlands and wildlife and engaging spaces for object installation. The Grottas were far more collaborative clients than is typical for Meier. “From our very first discussions,” Meier has written,”it was clear that their vast collection of craft objects and Sandy’s extensive experience as an interior designer would be an important in the design of the house.“ The sensitivity with which the collection was integrated into Meier’s design produced “an enduring harmony between an ever-changing set of objects and they space they occupy.” The unique synergy between objects and architecture is evident decades later, even as the collection has evolved.  Despite his “distinct — and ornament-free — visual language, Meier created a building that lets decorative objects take a leading role on the architectural stage,” notes Osman Can Yerebakan in Introspective magazine (“Tour a Richard Meier–Designed House That Celebrates American Craft,” Osman Can Yerebakan, Introspective, February 23, 2020). The house project had an unexpected benefit — a professional partnership between Sandy and Grotta House project manager, David Ling, that would result in memorable art exhibition and living spaces designed for the homes and offices of many of Sandy’s design clients.

Sandy and Lou became patrons of the American Craft Museum in 1970s. As a member of the Associates committee she organized several annual fundraisers for the Museum, including Art for the Table, E.A.T. at McDonald’s and Art to Wear, sometimes with her close friend, Jack Lenor Larsen, another assured acquirer, as co-chair. At the openings, she would sport an artist-made piece of jewelry or clothing, sometimes both, and often it was an item that arrived or was finished literally hours before the event. “I wear all my jewelry,” she told Metalsmith Magazine in 1991 (Donald Freundlich and Judith Miller, “The State of Metalsmithing and Jewelry,” Metalsmith Magazine, Fall 1991) “I love to go to a party where everyone is wearing pearls and show up in a wild necklace …. I have a house brooch by Künzli – a big red house that you wear on your shoulder. I can go to a party in a wild paper necklace and feel as good about it as someone else does in diamonds.” Sandy served on the Board of the by-then-renamed Museum of Arts and Design, stepping down in 2019. 

Portrait of Sandy Grotta
Sandra Grotta Portrait in Florida Apartment in front of sculptures by Dawn MacNutt and a tapestry by Jun Tomita

From its inception, Sandy served as a trusted advisor, cheerleader and cherished client to browngrotta arts. She introduced us to artists, to her design clients and Museum colleagues. Questions of aesthetic judgment — are there too many works in this display? too much color? does this work feel unfinished? imitative? decorative? — were presented to her for review. (She was unerring on etiquette disputes, too.) The debt we owe her is enormous; the void she leaves is large indeed. We can only say thank you, we love you and your gifts will live on.

You can learn more about Sandy’s life and legacy on The Grotta House website: https://grottahouse.com and in the book, The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft available from browngrotta at: https://store.browngrotta.com/the-grotta-home-by-richard-meier-a-marriage-of-architecture-and-craft/.

The family appreciates memorial contributions to the Sandra and Louis Grotta Foundation, Inc., online at https://joingenerous.com/louis-and-sandra-grotta-foundation-inc-r5yelcd or by mail to The Louis and Sandra Grotta Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 766, New Vernon, NJ 07976-0000.


New for Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences – Meet Gjertrud Hals

Portrait of Gjertrud Halls
Artist portrait by Omar Sejnæs

The Fall 2021 exhibition, Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences at browngrotta arts begins on September 25th and runs through October 3rd. It will explore common aesthetic approaches between artists in Scandinavian and Japan. It features 39 artists from Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. One of those artists is Gjertrud Hals of Norway whose work will be shown at browngrotta arts for the first time.

Educated as a tapestry weaver, Hals soon began experimenting with other techniques. The manner in which fiber innovators Sheila Hicks, Claire Zeisler and Magdalena Abakanowicz explored the sculpture possibilities of the medium interested and informed her work. She has worked with fishing nets, cotton and linen threads, paper pulp, metals, crochet and lacework. Her breakthrough came in the late 1980s with Lava, an innovative series of urns made of cotton and flax pulp that were 3-feet high. These vessels marked her transition from textile to fiber art.

Terra 2021-2
2gh Terra 2021-2, Gjertrud Halls, linen thread, resin, 16.5″ x 10″ x 10″, 2021

Hals has spent time in many countries, including India, Jordan, Norway and Japan. Her experiences there influence her work, in the ways the Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences exhibition seeks to highlight. “I was born and raised on a small island on the northwestern coast of Norway,” she writes, “and this has to a large extent influenced my artwork. As a seasoned traveler I have observed many different cultures. Much of my artistic work is an attempt at expressing the connection between the islands micro-history and the world’s macro-history.”

Japan was one of the areas that has had a significant impact on Hals. “In my community, many men, and a few women, were working on ships sailing to America and the Far East. They were bringing home items from an exotic world; my uncle gave us a lamp of translucent shells that I never could get enough of! Since the few rare and exotic things we had in our modest post-war homes often were bought in places like Yokohama and Kobe, Japan early became the far away country I was dreaming of.” 

Terra 2021 details
Terra, 2021 series detail. Photo by Tom Grotta

Hals became interested in Zen Buddhism as a young artist in the 70s. Simplicity, meditation and paradox were aspects of Zen aesthetics that appealed to me.  So, when I eventually came to Japan, in 1989, I thought I was well informed.” However, she was not prepared for Shintoism, she writes, Japan’s ancient, nature-worshipping religion. which had a major impact on her. “Coming home, I felt a strong urge to find something in my own culture that could make sense of this experience. It led me to Voluspå; the Song of the Sybil, one of the most important epic poems in Norse mythology. Since then, I have returned to these sources again and again.”

Arte Morbida writes that Hals’ knitted vessels “show the close relationship between the three emotional components of our aesthetic perception: light, a living and impalpable material that conveys emotions and moods, shadow, that transforms and hides, and form, which gives body and substance to the idea.” 

Terra 2021-7-8
8gh Terra 2021-8, Gjertrud Halls, copper and iron wire, 8.25″ x 8.25″ x 8.25″, 2021; 7gh Terra 2021-7, Gjertrud Halls, twigs thread, paper pulp, 8″ x 9″ x 9″, 2021

We are delighted to present eight of Hals’ works at our upcoming exhibtion, Japandi: shared aesthetics and influences. The hours of exhibition are: Opening and Artist Reception: Saturday, September 25th: 11 to 6; Sunday, September 26th: 11 to 6; Monday, September 27th through Saturday October 2nd: 10 to 5; Sunday, October 3rd: 11 to 6; Advanced time reservations are mandatory; Appropriate Covid protocols will be followed. There will be a full-color catalog prepared for the exhibition available at browngrotta.com on September 24th.

Make an appointment through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/japandi-shared-aesthetics-and-influences-tickets-165829802403.


Art Out and About: Exhibitions Abroad

Things are (happily!) opening up all over. If you are located abroad or planning to travel , there are a number of exciting exhibitions to visit in person and to check out online.

Lookout installation in Spain, Photo by Tim Johnson

Lookout
Mas de Barberans, Spain
An exhibition of the best of European basketmaking, Lookout, has been curated by Monica Guilera and Tim Johnson at the Museu de la Pauma, Mas de Barberans in Catalonia, Spain until September 30, 2021. The collection includes work by Dail Behennah, Mary Butcher and makers from Poland, France, Italy, Crimea and elsewhere. There is a beautifully illustrated 52-page catalogue which you can view online here.

Participation, Archie Brennan, 1977, woven at Dovecot Studios. Image Courtesy of Dovecot Studios

Archie Brennan Goes Pop
Edinburgh, Scotland
The Dovecot Studios in Scotland, is celebrating the extraordinary career of Archie Brennan in Archie Brennan Goes Pop through August 21, 2021. The Studios describe the exhibition as: “Bringing together over 80 tapestries as well as archive material, this is a chance to delve into the world of a master of modern tapestry. Sharp, witty, and immensely talented, Brennan began his 60-year weaving career at Dovecot and was an innovator and iconoclast who inspired weavers all over the world from Papua New Guinea to Australia.” Brennan’s contribution as a pop artist has not been recognized, until now.

Light, Nancy Koenigsberg, coated copper wire, 47″ x 47″ x 8″, 2011, photo by Tom Grotta. Part of the Artapestry6 traveling exhibition. 

ArtTapestry 6
Jyväskylä, Finland
2020’s ArtTapestry finally opened and has begun traveling, opening in Denmark and now installed in Finland and the Museum of Central Finland in Jyväskylä, through September 2022. Next it travels to Sweden. 43 works of 40 artists, from 16 countries were selected. Among the artists included are Gudren Pagter of Denmark, Wlodzimierz Cygan of Poland, Nancy Koenigsberg of the US and Helena Hernmarck, originally from Sweden but now of the US. For more information and to see the catalog, visit here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e55552503aff02749460670/t/602e819c27e2076281e2ef40/1613660584707/Artapestry6_catalog_2021.pdf

Sheila Hicks: Cosmic Arrivals
Milan, Italy
The Francesca Minini gallery opened an exhibition of Sheila Hick’s work last week in Milan. Sheila Hicks: Cosmic Arrivals runs until July 17, 2021 (http://www.francescaminini.it/exhibition). The gallery quotes Hicks in its press release, “Nature determines everything. Climate and light influence space. Each of my works inhabits in a particular place, respects its history, its temperature, its architecture.” Fibers are unmade and recreated in her hands, according to the release. Cloth is thus the cornerstone of a way of thinking that was developed under the influence of her mentor [Josef] Albers and continued through the search for a new construction of color and the reuse of textile fibers, often considered functional or decorative.

MAKING NUNO Japanese Textile Exhibition, Photo by JSouteyrat courtesy of the Japan House London

Making Nuno: Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko
London, UK
Japan House in London hosts an extraordinary exhibition, Making Nuno: Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko, showcasing the innovative work of Japanese textile designer Sudō Reiko. Sudō is renowned for pushing boundaries of textile production and championing new methods of sustainable manufacturing. She has been the design director of leading textile design firm Nuno for over 30 years and is a member of the Japan Design Committee. Her fabric designs combine Japanese craft traditions with new engineering techniques and unusual combinations of diverse materials such as silk, hand-made washi (Japanese paper), nylon tape and thermoplastic. Through July 11, 2021: https://www.japanhouselondon.uk/whats-on/2021/exhibition-making-nuno-japanese-textile-innovation-from-sudo-reiko/.

Textilés
Mons, France
BeCraft in collaboration with the City of Mons and Les Drapiers, Contemporary Art Center (Liège) has installed a provocative exhibit, Textilés through August 1, 2021. www.becraft.org

Happy travels!


Art Out and About: US

by Ryan Urcia and Kristina Ratliffe 

Our 2020 “Art in the Barn” exhibition series is not until next Spring but there are plenty of exciting exhibitions featuring some of our favorite browngrotta arts’ artists to check out this Winter season. Below is a round up of 10 must-see shows in the US:

John McQueen, Untitled #192, 1989, burdock burrs and applewood
Ed Rossbach, Croissants, ca. 1987, cartons, block print, and staples
CREDIT
The Henry Luce Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation generously support the reinstallation of the Renwick’s permanent collection.
John McQueen, Untitled #192, 1989, burdock burrs and applewood
Ed Rossbach, Croissants, ca. 1987, cartons, block print, and staples
CREDIT
The Henry Luce Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation generously support the reinstallation of the Renwick’s permanent collection.

Washington, D.C.
Connections: Contemporary Craft
at the Renwick Gallery
On view – indefinitely
Connections is the Renwick Gallery’s dynamic ongoing permanent collection presentation, featuring more than 80 objects celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. The exhibition explores the underlying current of craft as a balancing, humanistic force in the face of an evermore efficiency-driven, virtual world. The installation highlights the evolution of the craft field as it transitions into a new phase at the hands of contemporary artists, showcasing the activist values, optimism, and uninhibited approach of today’s young artists, which in some way echoes the communal spirit and ideology of the pioneers of the American Studio Craft Movement in their heyday. Includes artist Lia Cook, Toshiko Takaezu, Ed Rossbach, John McQueen, Peter Voulkos.
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum 

Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, Washington, DC. (212)(202) 633-7970 https://americanart.si.edu

Bamian by Sheila Hicks
Bamian Sheila Hicks (American (lives and works in Paris), born in 1934) 1968 Wool and acrylic yarns, wrapped * Charles Potter Kling Fund and partial gift of Sheila Hicks © Sheila Hicks * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Boston, Massachusetts
Women Take the Floor 
On view through May 3, 2020
An exhibition of more than 200 works that challenge the dominant history of 20th-century American art by focusing on the overlooked and underrepresented work and stories of women artists – advocating for diversity, inclusion, and gender equity in museums, the art world, and beyond. Includes Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Olga Amaral, Kay Sekimachi, Toshiko Takaezu
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Phone: (617) 267-9300 mfa.org

Katherine Westphal A Fantasy Meeting of Santa Claus with Big Julie and Tyrone at McDonalds
From Off the Wall: Katherine Westphal A Fantasy Meeting of Santa Claus with Big Julie and Tyrone at McDonalds, 1978. Resist-dyed cotton. San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, CA.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Off the Wall: American Art to Wear
On view through May 17, 2020  Delight in the astonishing inventiveness and techniques of a generation of mixed-media artists who pioneered a new art form designed around the body. Coming of age during the dramatic cultural shifts of the 1960s and 70s, the artists in this distinctively American movement explored non-traditional materials and methods to create adventurous, deeply imaginative works. Includes Norma Minkowitz and Katherine Westphal 
Philadelphia Museum of Art 
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 763-8100
https://philamuseum.org

White Pinwheel by Ethel Stein
Ethel Stein,White Pinwheel, 1990 cotton, satin damask weave; woven on a loom with a drawloom attachment fabricated by the artist 87.6 x 83.8 x 2.2 cm (34 1/2 x 33 x 7/8 in.)

Chicago, Illinois
Weaving beyond the Bauhaus
On view through Feb 17, 2020
Presented on the centenary of this foundational organization, Weaving beyond the Bauhaus traces the diffusion of Bauhaus artists, or Bauhäusler, such as Anni Albers and Marli Ehrman, and their reciprocal relationships with fellow artists and students across America. Through their ties to arts education institutions, including Black Mountain College, the Institute of Design, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Yale University, these artists shared their knowledge and experiences with contemporary and successive generations of artists, including Sheila Hicks, Else Regensteiner, Ethel Stein, Lenore Tawney, and Claire Zeisler, shaping the landscape of American art in the process.
Art Institute Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404
(312) 443-3600
https://www.artic.edu

In Poetry and Silence Lenore Tawney installation
In Poetry and Silence: The Work and Studio of Lenore Tawney Installation view at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 2019
Courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center


Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Lenore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe
On view through March 7, 2020
This series of four exhibitions explores Lenore Tawney’s (1907–2007) life and impact, offering a personal and historical view into her entire body of work. Read more about the Tawney exhibits in our earlier blog here: http://arttextstyle.com/2019/12/18/lenore-tawney-gets-her-due/  
John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC)
608 New York Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081
Phone: 920.458.6144
jmkac.org

Toshiko Takaezu portrait, 1998 by Tom Grotta
Toshiko Takaezu portrait, 1998 by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts

Racine, Wisconsin
It’s Like Poetry: Building a Toshiko Takaezu Archive at RAM 
On view through July 26, 2020
RAM’s archive now numbers over 30 works, including Toshiko Takaezu’s (1922-2011) most expansive grouping, the installation comprised of 14 “human-sized” forms, the Star Series. Significantly, the museum’s holdings span the range of Takaezu’s working career—with a double-spouted pot from the 1950s being the earliest and the Star Series (1999-2000) being the latest. 
Open Storage: RAM Showcases Ceramic, Fiber, and Regional Archives 
On view through August 30, 2020
Arranged as a series of artist solo showcases, Open Storage also highlights the earliest kinds of work given to RAM—textiles and works on paper. While ceramic works and art jewelry currently number as the two largest types of contemporary craft represented, examples of textiles, prints, drawings, and works on paper were among the very first gifts of artwork to the museum in the 1940s. This exhibition features the work of 12 artists—Sandra Byers, Gibson Byrd, John N. Colt, Theodore Czebotar, Lillian Elliott, Joseph Friebert, Ed Rossbach, Kay Sekimachi, Jean Stamsta, Merle Temkin, Murray Weiss, and Beatrice Wood—through multiple examples of their work. 
Racine Art Museum
441 Main Street, Racine, WI 53403
Phone: (262) 638-8300
https://www.ramart.org

Installation view of Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 22, 2019–January 2021). Alan Shields, J + K, 1972. Photograph by Ryan Urcia


New York, New York
Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019
On view through January 2021
The exhibition foregrounds how visual artists have explored the materials, methods, and strategies of craft over the past seven decades. This exhibition provides new perspectives on subjects that have been central to artists, including abstraction, popular culture, feminist and queer aesthetics, and recent explorations of identity and relationships to place. Together, the works demonstrate that craft-informed techniques of making carry their own kind of knowledge, one that is crucial to a more complete understanding of the history and potential of art. Drawn primarily from the Whitney’s collection, the exhibition will include over eighty works by more than sixty artists, including Ruth Asawa, Eva Hesse, Mike Kelley, Liza Lou, Ree Morton, Howardena Pindell, Robert Rauschenberg, Elaine Reichek, and Lenore Tawney, as well as featuring new acquisitions by Shan Goshorn, Kahlil Robert Irving, Simone Leigh, Jordan Nassar, and Erin Jane Nelson. More on this exhibition in our previous post: http://arttextstyle.com/dispatches-making-knowing-craft-in-art-1950-2019-at-the-whitney/
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 570-3600
https://whitney.org

Installation view of Taking a Thread for a Walk, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 
2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Doorly

New York, New York
Taking a Thread for a Walk
On view through April 19, 2020
True to its title, this exhibition takes a thread for a walk among ancient textile traditions, early-20th-century design reform movements, and industrial materials and production methods. Featuring adventurous combinations of natural and synthetic fibers and spatially dynamic pieces that mark the emergence of more a sculptural approach to textile art beginning in the 1960s, this show highlights the fluid expressivity of the medium. More about this exhibition in our earlier blog: Dispatches: Textiles Take Center Stage at the New MoMA, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York 
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 708-9400
https://www.moma.org

Lia Cook in front of Through the Curtain and Up from the Sea (1985) at MOCA in LA
Through the Curtain and Up from the Sea (1985) at MOCA in LA

Los Angeles, California
With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985
On view through May 3, 2020 Featuring approximately fifty artists from across the United States, the exhibition examines the Pattern and Decoration movement’s defiant embrace of forms traditionally coded as feminine, domestic, ornamental, or craft-based and thought to be categorically inferior to fine art. This is the first full-scale scholarly survey of this groundbreaking American art movement, encompassing works in painting, sculpture, collage, ceramics, installation art, and performance documentation. Includes artist Lia Cook
Museum of Contemporary Art
Grand Avenue
250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 626-6222
https://www.moca.org 

Please check with each art institution for directions and hours.          


Most Influential Art Movements of the Decade

Last month, Artsy identified the most seven most influential art movements of the decade in The Art Movements of the 2010s (Dec 18, 2019) by Charlotte Jansen https://www.artsy.net/series/decade-art/artsy-editorial-art-movements-2010s. Two of those identified by Jansen — the reconsideration of women artists, which the Artsy called “an art history overhaul” and the art world’s embrace of craft — are two we at browngrotta arts have also watched with more than passing interest for the past 10 years.

Ethel Stein Master Weaver at the Chicago Art Institute 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta
Ethel Stein Master Weaver at the Chicago Art Institute 2015. Photo by Tom Grotta

The article points to the Guerrilla Girls survey in 2016, which found an unsurprising, yet overwhelming, bias towards Western male artists, which curators and galleries have since been working to address in exhibitions such as Women of Abstract Expressionism. We would add several exhibitions to that list, including Woman Take the Floor, currently at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today at the Museum of Arts in Design in 2015, Ethel Stein’s one-person exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 and Lenore Tawney’s current four-part retrospective at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin. The article also mentions overlooked women artists already in their 70s, 80s and 90s who have gained representation with blue-chip galleries, specifically, Rose Wylie joined David Zwirner 2017; Luchita Hurtado joined Hauser & Wirth in 2018;  Howardena Pindell joined Victoria Miro in 2019. Carmen Herrera, now 104, started working with Lisson in 2009 and opened a retrospective at the Whitney in 2016. We would add Françoise Grossen who joined Blum & Poe in 2015.

The “return of craft” has brought greater attention to women artists, too. Jansen notes it has placed greater focus on forgotten legends such as Anni Albers, and living talents like Sheila Hicks. In November, Jansen points out, the Whitney mounted Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, on view through next January. Enthusiasm for ceramics has grown, too, she writes, as audiences continue to gravitate towards works by California Clay.

Even Thread Has a Speech by Lenore Tawney
Even Thread Has a Speech by Lenore Tawney is in the Whitney Exhibition Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019. Photo by Tom Grotta

Movement artists Ken Price, Peter Voulkos and Ron Nagle as well as the late Betty Woodman. We’d also point to interest in ceramist Toshiko Takaezu, whose work was included in both Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today and Women Take the Floor.

Installation View of Toshiko Takaezu; Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today and Women Take the Floor at the MFA Boston
Installation View of Toshiko Takaezu; Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today and Women Take the Floor at the MFA Boston. Photo by Peter Russo

“Craft techniques are some of the oldest media in human history,” Jansen concludes, “but this decade has proved there is still boundless inspiration to be found in them.”


Dispatches: Textiles Take Center Stage at the New MoMA, New York, NY

by Ryan Urcia and Kristina Ratliff

To much fanfare, New York City’s beloved Museum of Modern Art reopened on Oct 21, 2019 after undergoing major renovations over the summer to expand to more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces. 

Magdalena Abakanowicz Installation view of Taking a Thread for a Walk, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Magdalena Abakanowicz Installation view of Taking a Thread for a Walk, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Doorly

The museum’s Department of Architecture and Design organized the inaugural exhibitions reexamining the role of both disciplines as “integral to the interdisciplinary conversation with the visual arts” — an approach we have ascribed to at browngrotta arts for over 30 years.

Of particular interest to arttexstyle is the textile exhibition titled Taking a Thread for a Walk, which is a whimsical play on Paul Klee’s pedagogical lesson that “a drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” This exhibition is on view at The Philip Johnson Galleries on the museum’s third floor through April 19, 2020.   

Taking a Thread for a Walk, according to MoMA’s official press release, “looks at how successive generations developed new material and constructive languages from the 1890s through the 1970s, highlighting the flexibility of textiles, a medium that continues to defy easy categorization. The installation ‘takes a thread for a walk’ among ancient textile traditions, early 20th-century design reform movements, adventurous combinations of natural and new synthetic fibers in industrial production, through to the emergence of a more sculptural approach to textile art in the 1960s and 70s. Textiles and the adjacent practices of architecture, painting, drawing and sculpture have long had a close affinity, especially in the 20th century, when there was a concerted move to emphasize the underlying unity of all art forms and to connect modern art with industry and daily life. Woven artifacts appeared at the forefront of ongoing debates around abstraction, the total work of art, and the fusion of art with technology, challenging the widespread marginalization of textiles as ‘women’s work.'” Many of the pioneers in this narrative have been women, chief among them Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl, Florence Knoll and Sheila Hicks. Also featured are  recent acquisitions by Monika Correa (India), Aurèlia Muñoz (Catalonia), and the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, making clear the medium’s global relevance.

Upon entering the exhibition, we were greeted by a large scale sisal sculpture Yellow Abakan 1967–1968 by Magdalena Abakanowicz whose monumental works were often misperceived as a “feminine’ craft.” For more than half a century, Magdalena Abakanowicz produced critically acclaimed, poetic sculptures about the fraught and fragile condition of being human, shaped by her experiences growing up during WWII and living through the Soviet domination of Poland. According to MoMA, “Abakanowicz and many artists of the Eastern Bloc were drawn to craft and textile traditions as expressive mediums less regulated by Soviet censorship. Yellow Abakan‘s form is determined by the drape of the textile, which is coarsely woven from sisal, an industrial plant fiber used to make rope. The scarred seams and anatomical appendages lend the work a figural quality, something Abakanowicz continues to explore in large-scale sculptures cast in hardened fiber. Yellow Abakan was among works by several Polish weavers included in

Wall Hangings, a 1969 MoMA exhibition showcasing the work of international contemporary fiber artists. Abakanowicz’ work was first exhibited in the US by gallerists Anne and Jacques Baruch of Chicago. The Baruch’s work with fiber artists from Eastern Europe is the subject of browngrotta arts’ catalog, Advocates for Art: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection.

Directly across and in stark contrast in size is a beautiful raffia basket by Ed Rossbach Raffia Lace Basket, 1973. Rossbach was a relentless experimenter and according to MoMA “his career began in with ceramics and weaving in the 1940s, but evolved over the next decade into basket making. He is best known for his innovative and playful baskets made from nontraditional materials such as plastic and newspaper.” Rossbach was also featured in our recent exhibition Artists from The Grotta Collection which is now extended online on Artsy. 

linen sculpture by Sheila Hicks titled Cartridges and Zapata 1962–1965
Installation view of Taking a Thread for a Walk, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Doorly

Another highlight of the exhibition is a linen sculpture by Sheila Hicks titled Cartridges and Zapata 1962–1965. Hicks is one of the several modern craft and dimensional art artists who are part of The Grotta Collection. Hicks’ work is featured in browngrotta arts’ catalog, Sheila Hicks: Joined by seven artists from Japan, which documents an exhibition Hicks curated at bga in the 90s, one of several bga exhibitions in which Hicks’ work has been included.

Installation view of “Taking a Thread for a Walk”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 
2019
Installation view of “Taking a Thread for a Walk”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Doorly

Also of interest is a curious framed coptic rounded tapestry from the 6th-8th century titled Christ enthroned by an unknown designer. There is a loom on the left by Anni Albers labeled Structo ArtCraft 750 loom c. 1952 and to the right is a sculpture by Aurèlia Muñoz and Antoni Gaudi’s Study of a catenary arch for the Gaudí crypt at Colonia Güell, 1996. And directly above is a 3-panel digital video projection titled Warping Threading Weaving Drawing, 2014 by Simon Barker and Ismni Samanidou.

Installation view of “Taking a Thread for a Walk”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 
2019
Installation view of “Taking a Thread for a Walk”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Poorly

Another section of the exhibition featured a collection of woven textiles and in the foreground we were delighted to see a mesmerizing wall hanging by Jack Lenor Larsen, Interplay Casement Fabric, 1960, made of rovanna saran microfilamant. An international textile designer, author and collector, Larsen has long played an influential role in textile arts and has been an important mentor and supporter of browngrotta arts. “I think of interior fabrics as something to be in, not just to sit on or look at. Objects are out: the surround is in, and how we feel and relate to space is everything,” Larsen is quoted from 1978 on the MoMA art label. Behind these collections of soft fabrics is Halyard armchair, 1950 by Danish furniture designer Hans Wegner who was commissioned by Lou and Sandy Grotta to design several pieces for their home, The Grotta House. Anni Albers’ popularity is well represented in the exhibition, too, with 18 works ranging from 1926 to 1983 including screenprints, design drawings and tapestry. 

Sheila Hicks Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column
Installation view of Taking a Thread for a Walk, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Doorly

Wait, there’s more! On the sixth floor of the museum is another exhibition Surrounds: 11 Installations, showcasing for the first time 11 watershed installations by living artists from the past two decades, all drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition includes Hicks’ monumental Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column (2013–14) that “playfully and subversively challenges notions of architecture as permanent, solid, and tectonic.”

Be sure to go and see this abundance for yourself. Taking a Thread for a Walk is on view through April 19, 2020. The MoMA is located at 11 West 53 Street, New York. Open daily from 10am to 5:30pm. For more information, visit MoMA.org


Anniversary Alert: 30 Years of Catalogs – 30 Days to Save

From November 30th to December 31st, buy three or more browngrotta arts catalogs and save 10% on your order. In addition, for each sale made during that period, browngrotta arts will make a donation to the International Child Art Foundation https://www.icaf.org.
browngrotta holiday sale
In its 30 years promoting contemporary decorative art, browngrotta arts has produced 47 catalogs, 45 of which are still available. Readers have been appreciative: Artist, collector, curator, Jack Lenor Larsen, wrote that “… catalogs produced by browngrotta, and the photography therein, have become so superior, they are an important part of our literature.” Lotus Stack, formerly Curator of Textiles at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, noted that our publications, “consistently engage much more than readers’ minds.”
All of our volumes are heavy on images. Some highlight work by one or two artists, including Lenore TawneyEd Rossbach and Kay Sekimachi. Others, like Beyond Weaving, International Contemporary ArtTextiles, Influence and Evolution and Green from the Get Go, offer insights on materials, themes and influences. Here’s your chance to explore an artist or an era, fill any gaps in your collection or order a full set (a special discount applies to the purchase of all 45).
Our catalogs fall into four loose categories: those about individual artists, those that take a geographic perspective, those designed around a specific artistic theme, and survey publications, that look at a grouping of artists or work over a period of time.
30th Anniversary Catalog Special
On Individual Artists
The most detailed views of an individual artist are found in our Monograph Series of which there are three: Lenore Tawney: Drawings in Air; Lia Cook: In the Folds, Works from 1973-1997; Ethel Stein: Weaver and our Focus catalog, Jin-Sook So. Each includes an essay, describing the origin of their artistic practice. Drawings in Air also includes excerpts from Tawney’s journals.
In addition to the Monographs and Focus series, we have created 18 catalogs chronicling a series of exhibitions we have held featuring two or three artists each. These include: Markku Kosonen, Mary Merkel-Hess, Claude Vermette, Ed Rossbach and Katherine Westphal, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Hisako Sekijima; The British Invasion: Maggie Henton and Dail Behennah; Helena Hernmarck and Markku Kosonen; Mary Giles and Kari Lonning; Karyl Sisson and Jane Sauer; Dorothy Gill Barnes and John Garrett; Mary Merkel-Hess and Leon Niehues; Gyöngy Laky and Rebecca Medel; Glen Kaufman and Hisako Sekijima; Three California Basketmakers: Marion Hildebrandt, Deborah Valoma, Judy Mulford; Sara Brennan tapestry and Mary Giles fiber sculpture; Bob Stocksdale and Kay Sekimachi: Books, Boxes and Bowls; Adela Akers and Sylvia Seventy.

browngrotta holiday catalog special

Geographic focus:
We work with artists in several countries and have compiled their works in seven catalogs that provide viewers a sense of how contemporary art textiles have evolved in various locales. These include three exploring Japanese textiles and basketry: Sheila Hicks Joined by seven friends from Japan; Traditions Transformed: Contemporary Japanese Textiles & Fiber Sculpture; and Japan Under the Influence: Japanese basketmakers deconstruct transition, which features Hisako Sekijima and the artists she has influenced. It also includes A Scandinavian Sensibility, featuring 15 artists (an exhibition that traveled to the North Dakota Museum of Art), From Across the Pond, featuring artists from the UK, Advocates for the Arts: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Foundation Collection and one international volume: Beyond Weaving: Contemporary ArtTextiles.
30th Anniversary Catalog Special
Thematic:
For several exhibitions we asked artists to consider a particular material, approach or influence. This list of catalogs includes: Plunge, Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers, Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind, Stimulus: Art and Its Inception, On Paper, Wired, featuring works made of metals and Art of Substance, which won an AIA design award, and which highlights large-scale works.
30th Anniversary Catalog Special
Survey publications:
Our first survey publications, 10th Wave Part 1: New Baskets and Freestanding Sculpture and 10th Wave Part 2: New Textiles and Fiber Wall Art, which provided “states of the art” reviews, were produced in 1997, 10th Wave III: Art Textiles and Fiber Sculpture followed in 2009. In between and since we have published Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now – a look at fiber from the 60s to the present, 25 for the 25th; Artboombaby boomer artists reflect on their art; Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture and this past year, Still Crazy After All These Years: 30 years in art.
Take this opportunity to stock up! (Call us for a special price on the full set of 45 catalogs 203-834-0623.)

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.


Art Update: April Openings and Closings Here and Abroad

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Photo courtesy of the Wood Turning Center

It’s a Spring chock full of interesting exhibitions in the US and abroad. You’ve have just a few days remaining to see Beyond the Trees: Dona Look and Dorothy Gill Barnes http://centerfor
artinwood.org/
exhibition/dorothy-
gill-barnes-dona-
look-beyond-the-
trees/ at the Center for Wood Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two browngrotta artist are featured in this exhibition, which closes April 23rd.

photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Photo by Tom Grotta, Green From the Get Go, Morris Museum

Their work can also be seen through June 26th at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey in Green From the Get Go: Contemporary International Basketmakers, curated by browngrotta arts. In New York, New York, the Experiments in Art & Digital Technologies includes innovative bga artist Lia Cook, http://www.liacook.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EADT-Press.pdf who will lecture in New York on May 5th https://creativetechweek2016.sched.org/event/6DN5/weaving-and-digital-innovation.

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

12 of 32 Lia Cook Su Series Tapestries

Work by Lia Cook is also front and center in a San Francisco, California exhibition, Lines that Tie: Carol Beadle and Lia Cook http://sfmcd.org/press-release-lines-that-tie/ the exhibition is curated by bga artist, Deborah Valoma. Cook will lecture there tomorrow, April 21st. Identify Yourself, in Honolulu, Hawaii http://honolulumuseum
.org/art/exhibitions/
15320-identify_yourself/
, which closes this week, on April 24th, also features work by Lia Cook. Two events in Wilton, Connecticut to attend. Hickory, Ash and Reed: Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makersat the Wilton Historical Society, http://www.wiltonhistorical.
org/exhibitions.html
, Includes several baskets by the late Marian Hildebrandt, whose work is represented by browngrotta arts and whose work is also currently on exhibit in Green from the Get: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum.

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of Nordic Gold by Birgit Birkkjaer. Photo by Tom Grotta

Artboom: Celebrating Artists Mide-Century, Mid-Career is open at browngrotta arts for just 10 days, from April 30th-May 8th http://arttextstyle.com/
2016/04/19/art-barn-
2016-artboom-
celebrating-artists-
mid-century-mid-
career-wilton-ct-
april-30th-may-8th/
.

MER LUMINEUSE and J'AI MA LA MER S'ILLUMINER by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

Mer Lumineuse and J’ai Ma La Mer S’illuminer
by Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. Photo by Tom Grotta

In the halls of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nomadic tapestries, an exhibition of some of the extensive contemporary collection of the Toms Pauli Foundation, traces in the evolution of textile art from the 1960s to 2000s,
http://www.musees.vd.ch/en/museem-beaux-arts/exhibition/past-exhibitions/tapisseries-nomades-fondation-toms-pauli-collection-xxe-siecle/. browngrotta arts has work available by twelve of the artists included in this very significant international survey of art textiles — Magadalena Abakanowicz, Lia Cook, Sheila Hicks, Jan HladikRitzi Jacobi, Naomi Kobayashi, Maria Laszkiewicz, Jolanta Owidzka, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Wojciech Sadley, Sherri Smith and Hideho Tanaka. The exhibition will be on view through May 29th. In Tilburg, the Netherlands the Textile Museum is hosting a major retrospective of American artist and textile pioneer Sheila Hicks, born 1934 http://www.textielmuseum.nl. Internationally renowned, thanks to her participation in numerous large solo and group exhibitions, this is her first appearance in the Netherlands for many years. The exhibition extends through June 5, 2016.


Influence and Evolution Update: More Influencers, North America

Details of works by Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen and Mariette-Rousseau-Vermette

Details of works by Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen and Mariette-Rousseau-Vermette, Photos by tom grotta

Fiber art experimentation by artist in North America including Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Françoise Grossen (a Swiss living in the US) and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette in Canada was a feature of the 1960s. The Museum of Modern Art recognized this directional shift in the seminal 1969 Wall Hangings exhibition, curated by Jack Lenor Larsen and then-MOMA curator, Mildred Constantine. The last 10 years “have caused us to revise our concepts of this craft and view the work within the context of 20th century art,” the curators explained. The exhibition featured 13

Details of works by Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smithand Kay Sekimachi

Details of works by Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smithand Kay Sekimachi, Photos by Tom Grotta

artists from North American including Tawney, Hicks, Grossen, Rousseau-Vermette, Ed Rossbach, Sherri Smith and Kay Sekimachi. “The American works tend to be more exploratory and less monumental,” the curators noted, “as illustrated by the ‘sketchy’ and transparent quality of the free-hanging, gossamer piece of nylon monofilament by Kay Sekimachi.” Sherri Smith used gradated color to reinforce the three-dimensional effect of the expanded waffle weave that forms Volcano No. 10. Several of these American artists were featured in the 4th International Tapestry Biennial in Lausanne that the same year, across the Atlantic. “What an event!” writes Erika Billeter in her historical essay, “The Lausanne Tapestry Biennials,” (16th Lausanne International Biennial: Criss-Crossings, 1995, pp. 36-53). Sheila Hicks shows a free-hanging work inspired by ancient Peruvian techniques and Françoise Grossen approaches macrame, thought to be “old hat”, says Billeter, “with such freedom, she transforms it into a hitherto unexplored contribution to this avant-garde textile art.” By 1969, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette was already a “favorite” of the Biennials, getting noticed for her “abstract and highly pictorial pieces with their highly worked surfaces.” Lenore Tawney did not have work in the 4th Biennial, but she had an influence nonetheless, through Susan

Detail of Lia Cooks TRANSLUCENCE rayon, 56" x 40", 1978, photo by Tom Grotta

Detail of Lia Cooks TRANSLUCENCE rayon, 56″ x 40″, 1978, photo by Tom Grotta

Weitzman’s Homage to Lenore Tawney, a transparent mural leaf, made solely of warp yarn. Lia Cook would join this influential group a few years later, finishing her masters degree and gaining international recognition at the 6th Biennial in 1973, with a 10-foot by 12-foot black-and-white optic weaving entitled, Space Continuum. Also gaining recognition in the

Summer and Winter Detail by Adela Akers, Photo by Tom Grotta

Summer and Winter Detail by Adela Akers, Photo by Tom Grotta

1970s, was Adela Akers whose work was included in the Inaugural Exhibition of the American Craft Museum in New York. Her work illustrates how timeless these artists’ explorations have been. “Contextualizing Adela Akers,” writes Ezra Shales, in the catalog for Influence and and Evolution, “one could say that she was born in Spain and trained in Cuba as a pharmacist before she went to Cranbrook, or that she taught at Tyler for decades, but one could not, relying on eye and hand alone, place [her] works as a fixed chronology with any absolute surety.” Works by Tawney, Hicks, Grossen, Rousseau-Vermette, Rossbach, Smith, Cook, Sekimachi and Akers from the 1960s through the 2000s will be among those featured in Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now at browngrotta arts, Wilton, Connecticut from April 24th through May 3rd. The Artists Reception and Opening is on Saturday April 25th, 1pm to 6pm. The hours for Sunday April 26th through May 3rd are 10am to 5pm. To make an appointment earlier than 10am or later than 5pm, call: 203-834-0623.