Philadelphia, PA – This holiday season offers the perfect opportunity for art lovers and those interested in the history of fabric making in Philadelphia to visit The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) before a much-acclaimed art installation by the noted artist Ann Hamilton closes.
On view through Sunday, January 8, 2017, Hamilton’s habitus has been described by Artforum magazine as “a materialization of the nerve center from which springs Hamilton’s tender and spectacular whimsy.” This transformation takes place over four gallery floors, where a number of the artist’s new large-scale digital prints and earlier works are juxtaposed with displays of historical objects relating to the social and material life of cloth—including literary commonplace books, textile sample books, dolls, and needlework portfolios.
The museum’s recently-opened seventh floor features a multimedia installation of two poems written by the Philadelphia-based poet Susan Stewart, which were featured as part of the massive habitus installation at Municipal Pier 9 that ran through mid-October. The poems—titled CHANNEL and MIRROR—are displayed in two ways: physically—printed on fabric strips and wound on reels—and in video, projected on the back wall of the gallery.
Long shelves lining gallery walls are filled with stacks of printed pages of literary passages that refer to cloth, each submitted by a member of the public by way of Tumblr. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take their favorites passages, thereby forming their own collections. Special binders designed by Hamilton are available in the Museum Shop. Hamilton also has created a free newsprint tabloid-style book as another take-away that feature essays by the artist and poetry by Natalie Shapero.
Artful Gift Ideas For The Holidays
On the first floor of The Fabric Workshop and Museum, the museum shop offers an array of books and gifts related to fabric—or made of fabric, including useful objects created by some of the greatest artists of our day, from Louise Bourgeois, Howard Hodgkin, and Red Grooms to Roy DeForest and Alison Saar. One of FWM’s newest shop items was created in collaboration Hamilton this year. Cloth • a commonplace is a 201-page-set of the public submissions that were on view in habitus, ranging from literary text fragments and photographs of historic textile fragments. This collection begins with a philosophical writing by Matthew Goulish about the act of common placing.
Ann Hamilton • habitus • cloth • a commonplace, 2016. Made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.
Canvas bags, scarves, napkins, ties, pillows, umbrellas, and t-shirts created by artists can only be found at the Fabric Workshop and Museum Shop. This holiday season look for Roy DeForest’s printed canvas Gridley Bag (1985), which was scaled to fit his dog of the same name; Jim Drain’s Outerspace Bliss (2011), two bright and patterned wool and cashmere scarves; and Kiki Smith’s Owl and Pussycat (2002), a flip doll inspired by Edward Lear’s 1871 nonsense poem about two unlikely sweethearts: an elegant owl and a beautiful cat.
Left: Roy DeForest, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Gridley Bag, 1985, pigment on 100% cotton canvas, 32 x 22 x 9 inches. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Right: Kiki Smith, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Owl and Pussycat, 2002. Pigment on cotton sateen, and Liberty print fabrics. 24 x 12 x 2 inches. Unlimited edition. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
Jim Drain, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Outerspace Bliss, 2011. Top: Cashmere scarf (black & white). Bottom: Industrially knit merino wool (turquoise & pink). Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.
More About the Artist and Habitus
The recipient of many honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1993), Ann Hamilton is internationally recognized for her large scale, multi-media installations, including the event of a thread, which was staged in 2012 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Habitus is her third collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Generous loans from The Design Center at Philadelphia University, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and Winterthur Museum Garden & Library have made habitus possible.
Major support for Ann Hamilton: habitus has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Coby Foundation, Ltd., the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shipley-Miller Foundation, and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation which allowed the use of their warehouse for this project and provided invaluable support.
About The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Artists come from around the world to create work at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, whose Artist-in-Residence Program is renowned as a laboratory for experimentation with new materials and media. Through these collaborations, the Museum has built a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art and an archive that preserves and documents the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. A program of exhibitions, publications, website, and workshops also support FWM’s commitment to conveying a story of contemporary art that unites process with finished works.