Exhibition

Fabric As...

September 10, 2020–April 18, 2021

Fabric As… (exhibition view), 2020. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

As a residency-based, contemporary art museum with a mission of experimenting and collaborating in the making of new work, The Fabric Workshop and Museum approaches the idea of fabric conceptually and metaphorically. For the Fabric As… exhibition, fabric is thought of less in terms of material and more of in ways of thinking. This could include ideas of interconnectedness, memory, safety, identity, or touch.

The show invites viewers to walk through the space and experience works from the FWM Collection, considering the various ways that fabric can be understood. With associated responses provided by various FWM staff, the space is meant to prompt new responses and conversations. These prompts are included below, followed by exhibition images to illustrate featured works.

Virgil Marti
In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
Austrian Swag, 2009
Seven color hand screenprint on Tyvek

Fabric As… Print
“The term swag refers to the drooping curve created when a curtain is bunched and fastened together. To mimic this effect in two dimensions, artist and former FWM Studio Coordinator Virgil Marti designed a custom wallpaper and worked with staff to screenprint the design using seven different screens. Austrian Swag is notoriously one of the most technically difficult patterns produced at FWM.” -Nami Yamamoto, Director of Studio Operations

Mika Tajima
In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
Negative Entropy (Langhorne Carpet Mill, Single), 2012
Negative Entropy (Material Technology & Logistics, Inc., Single),2012
Negative Entropy (Caledonia Dye Works, Single), 2012
Negative Entropy (Edward J Darby & Son, Inc. Pennsylvania Wire Works, Single), 2012
Negative Entropy (Philadelphia Technology Park Server Room, Single), 2012
Negative Entropy (Philadelphia Technology Park Router Room, Single), 2012
Cotton, wool acoustic baffling felt, and wood

Fabric As… Change
“Mika Tajima’s Negative Entropy takes moments of impermanence and translates them into physical forms. In a universe that naturally pulls us towards entropy (disorder), it is comforting to know that humans are ever-creating negative entropy, especially when everything feels like it is falling apart.” -Nikki Schaffer, Visitor Services Assistant and Gallery Guide

Luis Cruz Azaceta
In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
Acid Rain Coat, 1990
Edition of 5
Pigment on white cotton upholstery sateen, vinylized after printing

Fabric As… Activism
“This functional vinyl raincoat by Cuban-American painter Luis Cruz Azaceta is both a shield and a modern-day scarlet letter, outing humanity’s violence towards the Earth and consequently, our fellow human beings. This coat urges us to take a hard look at ourselves and to transform our understanding into actionable protection for the Earth and for each other.” -Ash Limés Castellana, Museum Education Coordinator

J Morgan Puett and Mark Dion
In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia and participants in focus groups organized by The Center for the Study of Nursing at University of Pennsylvania
[The Ideal Nurses’ Uniform], 2003
Edition 1 of 2
Nylon, spandex, polyester, silver-plated nylon, and X-static fiber

Fabric as…Protection
“At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses on the front lines were left with inadequate protective gear to administer care in an infectious environment. Fabricated in the years following the 2001 anthrax attacks, over 900 nurses gave input on The Ideal Nurses’ Uniforms ranging from innovative shields against airborne toxins, to lighter casual styles of wear.” -George MacLeod, Visitor Services Assistant and Gallery Guide

Karl Wirsum
In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bus, 1978
Pigment on cotton muslin

Fabric as… Riddle
“A pattern can electrify with its shapes and colors. It can be clever nonsense, a rhythmic ripple, or an irreverent call. Wirsum’s title plays with the proverb, ‘Better is a sparrow held tight in the hand than a thousand birds flying about in the air.’ Maybe, what we hold close, a bird, a bus, a hand is worth more than all the $ in the land.” -Katie Parry, Museum Tour Manager

Renée Green
In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
Mise-en-Scéne: Commemorative Toile, 1992
Pigment on cotton sateen and cotton sateen upholstered furniture

Fabric As… Speech
“Subverting the traditional idyllic imagery found in toile patterns, Renée Green discreetly inserts violent and often harsh imagery of Black enslavement and uprisings sourced from the tome The Image of the Black in Western Art. Centering the struggle of Black individuals within the installation, the artist destabilizes what at first glance appears a historically-accurate colonial setting.” -Alec Unkovic, Exhibitions Manager

360° Photo

Location

The Fabric Workshop and Museum
First Floor


Art in This Exhibition


Artists in This Exhibition