Sheila Hicks. Panel for interior of Air France Boeing 747 aircraft. 1969–77. Embroidered in wild silk on polished cotton. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Melvin Bedrick

Over six decades Sheila Hicks has explored the expressive and constructive potential of fiber in ways that blur the boundaries between craft, industrial production, and environmental art. In 1969, she won a prestigious commission from Air France to develop a unique series of nineteen textile panels for the business-class section of a new fleet of 747 aircraft. Designed to fit the curved contours of the world’s first passenger jumbo jet, each fiber wall was hand-embroidered using wild Chinese silk, creating a subtly raised and textural pattern. The series was executed in Hicks’s Paris studio over the course of eight years. MoMA acquired the sole surviving example last year, on view here for the first time.

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