Taking a Thread for a Walk

October 21, 2019–Spring 2020

MoMA

Aurèlia Muñoz. Águila Beige (Brown Eagle). 1977. Macramé with hand-dyed sisal and jute yarn, 72 × 156 × 150" (182.9 × 396.2 × 381 cm). Committee on Architecture and Design Funds. Digital image © 2019 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar
  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 North The Philip Johnson Galleries

Anni Albers wrote in 1965, “Just as it is possible to go from any place to any other, so also, starting from a defined and specialized field, can one arrive at a realization of ever-extending relationships . . . traced back to the event of a thread.”

Such events quietly brought about some of modern art’s most intimate and communal breakthroughs, challenging the widespread marginalization of weaving as “women’s work.” In Albers’s lifetime, textiles became newly visible as a creative discipline—one closely interwoven with the practices of architecture, industrial design, drawing, and sculpture. A key driver for the development of new languages for woven forms was the emergence of interdisciplinary educational institutions such as the Bauhaus school of art and design, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and Black Mountain College. These schools championed experiential learning—or learning through doing—an approach that had been in part inspired by progressive early-childhood teaching models of the 19th century.

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.

Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Andrew Gardner, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation.

Major support is provided by The Modern Women’s Fund and The Coby Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, The Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Alice and Tom Tisch, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, The Keith Haring Foundation, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro.

Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Clarissa Alcock and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Agnes Gund, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.

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