Venturi, Scott Brown and Grandmother: Patterns for Production

September 13, 2014–November 9, 2014

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown with Queen Anne chair (left), 1979, and Empire chair (right), 1979. Denise Scott Brown wears the Grandmother dress she designed. Photo credit: Robert Adelman (from Life magazine).

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) presents Venturi, Scott Brown and Grandmother: Patterns for Production that opens on Saturday, September 13, 2014. FWM will host a public reception on Thursday, October 2, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. This exhibition illustrates the bold commitment to surface pattern and color that distinguished the designs of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates for textiles, furniture, and decorative arts from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. Both on the walls of the Mt. Airy home shared by architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown and at FWM where the Grandmother, Notebook, and Flowers designs were developed, patterns were tested—some floral, some abstract, some combined—the designers skillfully manipulating effects of scale, rhythm, color, and association. These experiments mirrored the working process of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates for their commercial clients, where the firm’s tendency to continuously modify and refine is recorded in the numerous prototypes and samples produced for every project.

Venturi, Scott Brown and Grandmother: Patterns for Production is curated by: Claudia Cueto, AIA, CuetoKEARNEYdesign Architects; Kathryn B. Hiesinger, Ph.D., The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator, European Decorative Arts after 1700, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Marion Boulton Stroud, Founder and Artistic Director, The Fabric Workshop and Museum; and William Whitaker, Curator and Collections Manager, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.


The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Eighth Floor

Opening Reception

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

The Thursday, October 2nd reception will also celebrate the following exhibitions:
Kazumi Tanaka: Mother and Child Reunion

Members-only Artist Talk by Kazumi Tanaka: Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm
FWM, 1214 Arch Street, First Floor
On view: Friday, August 1–Sunday, November 9, 2014

Question Bridge: Black Males
Created by Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair
FWM, 1214 Arch Street, Second Floor
On view:  Saturday, September 13–Sunday, November 9, 2014

Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck: A Hatchet to Kill Old Ugly
The New Temporary Contemporary, 1222 Arch Street
On view: Thursday, October 2, 2014–Sunday, January 4, 2015

Artists in This Exhibition

About the Artist

Robert Venturi, American, born 1925, died 2018 in Philadelphia
Denise Scott Brown, American, born Zambia 1931, lives in Philadelphia
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown have been practicing architecture, writing critical architectural theory and teaching together since the mid-1960s. Their award-winning work has influenced new generations of architects and designers, and includes building projects such as the Seattle Art Museum, a new wing for the National Gallery, London, Gordon Wu Hall at Princeton University, as well as Venturi’s early works: Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia, his mother’s residence, and the facade for Best Products in Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania. Venturi’s theoretical writing has been critical to the development and understanding of postmodern theory in architecture, from Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, to Learning from Las Vegas, written with Denise Scott Brown and their colleague Steven Izenour. Their four decades of architectural and design work was the subject of Out of the Ordinary: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates, a 2001 exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and The Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.


Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the Edna W. Andrade Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation with additional funding by the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM).