Category Archives: Fashion

Armor

Enamored Armor, Rowan University Art Gallery

ENAMORED ARMOR
The Potency of the Female Figure

GLASSBORO, NJ – Rowan University Art Gallery welcomes guest curator Amie Potsic with this exhibition. Three women artists reframe the cultural construct of feminine as empowering in Enamored Armor. The opening reception and artist talk is on Thursday, November 29 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The exhibit is on display from November 29, 2018 – January 12, 2019.

Featuring work by Marjan Moghaddam, Mari Ogihara, and Tiantian Li, Enamored Armor includes references inspired by art history, cultural specificity, and contemporary society. The classical figure serves as a basis, as the artists investigate the multiplicity of ways in which women choose to present and redefine themselves in pursuit of potency and self-discovery. Through video, painting, sculpture, and Augmented Reality, their work spans a historical spectrum of millennia with a finger on the pulse of current artistic practice, the women’s empowerment movement, and emerging technologies.

Marjan Moghaddam is an award-winning and pioneering digital artist and animator who works primarily with 3d computer graphics, motion capture, and digital media for animation, post-internet art. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in addition to curated shows at the Armory Show in NYC and Art Basel Miami. In her digital female bodies, Marjan utilizes aesthetic styles as part of a figural vocabulary that explores the evolving nature of humanity. The figures represent the deconstruction of the organic, and its fracturing and fragmentation as it migrates from the physical to the digital.

Mari Ogihara’s work ranges from female figures to colorful biomorphic sculptures. She connects her understanding of how a samurai got ready for battle with the way women throughout history have prepared their physical appearance for sexual intimacy. Ogihara has held international residencies in France, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico in addition to multiple residencies in the United States.

Tiantian Li’s work has been shown in numerous Philadelphia galleries in addition to major art museums in China. In her watercolors she explores ideation of female intimacy and emotions expressed through portraits of her lingerie superposition with portraits of historical characters from the renaissance period, which represents a time of enlightenment and romantic expression. She is encouraging women to take a positive perspective on their bodies and female representation while giving themselves the attention, humor, and respect they deserve.

The Rowan University Art Gallery is located at 301 High Street West. Free 2-hour public parking is available in the Mick Drive Parking Garage across the street from the gallery. Admission to the gallery, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Directions can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit www.rowan.edu/artgallery.

Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries is also made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Baisser in Mary Boone, in Glassish & Waxish Glitch from marjan moghaddam on Vimeo.

Thank you to Mary Salvante for the content of this post.

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Modern Times

Modern Times - Thomas Hart Benton - BurlesqueBurlesque, c. 1922, by Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889 – 1975. Tempera on panel, 9 1/2x 12 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Edward Suckle, M.D., 2002-91-1. © T. H. Benton and R. P. Benton Testamentary Trusts / UMB Bank Trustee / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition dates: April 18—September 3, 2018

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition exploring the creative responses of American artists to the rapid pace of change that occurred in this country during the early decades of the twentieth century. Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 examines the new and dynamic visual language that emerged during this period and had a dramatic impact on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, and the decorative arts. These developments were shaped by the dizzying transformations then occurring in every aspect of life, from the advent of the automobile and moving pictures to the rapid growth of American cities and the wrenching economic change brought on by the advent of the Great Depression after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. The exhibition features important works by those artists—Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and John Marin, among them—championed by the great photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, as well as many other notable figures of this period. Modern Times is drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s renowned collection, especially the gift from the Stieglitz Collection that it received in the late 1940s, and contains 156 works, several of which will be on view for the first time.

Modern Times, Alexander Calder, Portrait of Carl ZigrosserPortrait of Carl Zigrosser (1891 – 1975), c. 1928, by Alexander Calder, American, 1898 – 1976. wire, 14 x 10 1/2 x 10 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1980-3-141. © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “America’s embrace of modern life—its perils as well as its promise—in the early twentieth century was expressed most clearly in the arts. The work of this period still feels fresh and of the moment. This exhibition provides us with a welcome opportunity to reassess the Museum’s exceptionally rich holdings of modern American art and how we may display them to full advantage in the future when the Museum completes its expansion under its Master Plan. It also holds the promise of many surprises and discoveries for our visitors.”

Modern Times, Stuart Davis, Something on the Eight BallSomething on the Eight Ball, 1953-1954, by Stuart Davis, American, 1892 – 1964. Oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Adele Haas Turner and Beatrice Pastorius Turner Memorial Fund, 1954-30-1. © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

While the Museum has presented a number of exhibitions devoted to this subject over the years, Modern Times is the largest and most comprehensive since it presented the collection of Alfred Stieglitz in 1944. The exhibition opens with the achievements of some of the leading figures of “The Eight,” including John Sloan and George Bellows, who recorded the changing urban scene with a gritty realism as horse carts gave way to motor vehicles on city streets.

Modern Times, Beauford Delaney, Portrait of James BaldwinPortrait of James Baldwin, 1945, by Beauford Delaney, American (active Paris), 1901 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by The Daniel W. Dietrich Foundation in memory of Joseph C. Bailey and with a grant from The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1998-3-1

The exhibition emphasizes those artists—among them Charles Demuth, Morton Schamberg, Charles Sheeler, Benton Spruance, and Paul Strand—who responded to the Armory Show of 1913 and the influence of the European avant garde by seeking to give modernism an authentic American voice. Offering a broader perspective on American art of this period, the exhibition explores the achievements of important African American figures, such as Aaron Douglas, William Edmondson, Horace Pippin and Dox Thrash. It also looks at cross-currents within the arts, including contemporary fashion and design, and work by female artists such as O’Keeffe, Florine Stettheimer, Frances Simpson Stevens, Kay Sage, and Dorothea Tanning.

Modern Times, Charles Demuth, Lancaster (In the Province No. 2)Lancaster (In the Province No. 2), 1920, by Charles Demuth, American, 1883 – 1935. Oil on canvas, 30 x 16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950-5-1.

One section of the exhibition takes a close look at the many artists who explored in their work the abstract qualities of rhythm, light, and sound. Some of their aesthetic strategies were employed to create dynamic still lifes, enlivening what was commonly considered a static genre. Another section explores the expressive use of color, focusing on Arthur Beecher Carles, Henry Breckenridge, and Henry McCarter who stretched the boundaries of artistic tradition by relieving color of its purely descriptive function. These three artists, each of whom lived and worked in Philadelphia, reflected this city’s active engagement with progressive trends in American art. In fact, the significant role that Philadelphia played in the history of American modernism is echoed throughout the exhibition. It includes works by Philadelphia-born artists such as Man Ray and Alexander Calder who became prominent abroad, where they were closely aligned with modern movements in Europe, and others who remained in the city in which the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts provided a center of energy and a place to teach.

Modern Times, Aaron Doulgas, Birds in FlightBirds in Flight, c. 1927-1929, by Aaron Douglas, American, 1899 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 16 1/4 x 14 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest in honor of Anne d’Harnoncourt, 2015-7-1. © Heirs of Aaron Douglas / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Modern Times, Arthur Dove, Chinese MusicChinese Music, 1923, by Arthur Dove, American, 1880 -1946. Oil and metallic paint on panel, 21 11/16 x 18 1/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-2.

Landscape painting was, likewise, revolutionized by the artists of this generation, who found in this traditional genre a sustained source of inspiration. The adaptation of the modernist vision to one of the most enduring themes in American art can be seen most dramatically in works by O’Keeffe, Hartley, and Arthur Dove. Others, such as Sheeler, took the stark, yet impressive geometry of the new industrial landscape as a point of departureThe exhibition also examines another familiar subject, the human figure, which proved to be of abiding interest to the artists of this generation. Included in this rich and fascinating section is a group of portraits by artists such as Milton Avery, Beauford Delaney, and John Graham.

Modern Times, Wharton Esherick, Of a Great CityOf a Great City, 1923, by Wharton H. Esherick, American, 1887 – 1970. Wood engraving, image: 9 15/16 x 6 5/16 inches, sheet: 11 7/16 x 7 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1979-12-11.

Modern Times, Marsden Hartley, Painting No 4 (Black Horse)Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 -1943. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-8

Jessica Todd Smith, The Susan Gray Detweiler Curator of American Art, and Manager, Center for American Art, who organized the exhibition, said: “Modernism changed the way people saw the world around them. Artists pushed their work in new directions, embracing abstraction, while retaining connections to artistic traditions. This exhibition focuses on interrelationships among works of art rather than a single linear narrative. In fact, it gives voice to multiple narratives because the evolution and experimentation in the art of this period is especially fluid. This stylistic pluralism, the beautiful chaos of innovation, was a hallmark of the modern American movement.”

 Modern Times, Alice Neel, Portrait of John with HatPortrait of John with Hat, 1935, by Alice Neel, American, 1900 – 1984. Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the estate of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993-119-2.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red and Orange StreakRed and Orange Streak, 1919, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 27 x 23 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-3.

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication, American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by Jessica Todd Smith. It is published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press ( 272 pp.) The title of the essay, “Seeing Takes Time” is inspired by a quotation of Georgia O’Keeffe: “Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—we haven’t time—and to see takes time . . . “

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red Hills and BonesRed Hills and Bones, 1943, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 40 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-109.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, From the Lake No. 3From the Lake No. 3, 1924, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-2.

With 120 color and 10 black-and-white illustrations, American Modernism is the first book to showcase this outstanding aspect of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was one of the first major museums in this country to acquire what we now call American Modernism. It tells a story that is unique to the Museum, examining the collection’s development since the 1920s and the role that the city of Philadelphia played in promoting modernism in the first half of the twentieth century. While previous publications have focused on European and American modernism, this one considers what it meant to be American and to be modern, exploring how these artists challenged convention without abandoning recognizable elements from the world around them.

Modern Times, Horace Pippin, The GetawayThe Getaway, 1939, by Horace Pippin, American, 1888 – 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 5/8 x 36 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-3.

Modern Times, Man Ray, A.D. 1914A.D. 1914, 1914, by May Ray, American, 1890 – 1976. Oil on canvas, 36 7/8 x 69 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1944-90-1.

In addition to focusing on internationally acclaimed artists from the circle of photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler, Smith also considers those who contributed significantly to the art of the United States during their day but have been left outside the mainstream of art history, whether due to their race, gender, or social standing.

Modern Times, Charles Sheeler, Pertaining to Yachts and YachtingPertaining to Yachts and Yachting, 1922, by Charles Sheeler, American, 1883 – 1965. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 1/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Margaretta S. Hinchman, 1955-96-9.

American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now available online via philamuseum.org or in the Museum Store (paper-over-board, $35).

Modern Times, John Sloan, Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth StreetSixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 32 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000. 1964-116-5.

Modern Times, John Sloan, The White WayThe White Way, c. 1926, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, 1946-10-2.

Exhibition Location

Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor

 Modern Times, Alfred Stieglitz, The City of AmbitionThe City of Ambition, 1910 (negative); c. 1930 (print), by Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1871 – 1944. Gelatin silver print, image/sheet/mount: 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-47.

Modern Times, Paul Strand, The Court, New YorkThe Court, New York, 1924 (negative); 1960s (print), by Paul Strand, American, 1890 – 1976. Gelatin silver print, image (sight): 9 1/2 x 7 7/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Paul Strand Retrospective Collection, 1915 – 1975, gift of the estate of Paul Strand, 1980-21-42.

Support

This exhibition has been made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lyn M. Ross, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, and two anonymous donors.

Modern Times, Florine Stettheimer, Spring Sale at Bendel'sModern Times, Dox Thrash, DemolitionDemolition, c. 1944, by Dox Thrash, American, 1893 – 1965. Oil on canvas board, 26 x 20 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Katharine Levin Farrell Fund, 2002-97-1.

Exhibition-related education programming was generously supported by the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Social Media
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We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Modern Times, Lloyd Ullberg, PSFS Building, PhiladelphiaPSFS Building, Philadelphia, c.1932 – 1933, by Lloyd Ullberg, American, 1904-1996. Gelatin silver print, image and sheet:10 x 7 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, 1999-121-3.

Modern Times, Artist-maker unknown, Cocktail Shaker with HandleCocktail Shaker with Handle, c.1930s, Artist/maker unknown, American. Chromium, Bakelite, 12 x 6 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martina Schaap Yamin, 2013-28-66a,b.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post. Click the images for large pictures.

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Phulkari

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab, PMATota Bagh Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, buttonhole, and chain stitches, 7 feet 8 3/4 inches × 56 inches (235.6 × 142.2 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab
from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, 
Joan Spain Gallery, Perelman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection

Through July 9, 2017

Phulkari, meaning “flower work” (phul = flower, kari = work), is an embroidery originally made throughout Punjab, a region now straddling Pakistan and India. Traditionally, the base cloth was locally handspun and handwoven cotton called khaddar. The thread, called pat, was unplied silk usually imported from China. The dominant embroidery stitch is the darning stitch (a straight stitch in parallel rows), although artists interspersed it with other stitches. Perhaps because of thread’s high cost, most pieces show embroidery only on one side of the cloth.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabSainchi Phulkari/Nilak Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, running, chain, and buttonhole stitches, glass mirrors, 7 feet 5 inches × 53 inches (226.1 × 134.6 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkaris were a crucial part of a Punjabi woman’s material wealth. Young girls learned needlework from their older female relatives and friends. Often they made phulkaris for their own dowries, which they brought with them to their husbands’ home when they married. Primarily intended as large shawls worn draped over the head, phulkaris could also function as bedding or wall hangings for special functions. While each phulkari is unique, they may be grouped into types by designs and background colors with names such as thirma (white), sainchi (figurative), or bagh (garden).

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabDarshan Dwar Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun, handwoven cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, pattern darning, buttonhole, herringbone, running and Cretan stitches, 7 feet 5 inches × 50 inches (226.1 × 127 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Highlighted here are nineteen superb phulkaris from the Bonovitz Collection, promised gifts to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All were probably created before the Partition of Pakistan and India in 1947.  Also included is a small selection of traditional phulkaris from the Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition concludes with a creative twenty-first century reinvention of phulkari in the high fashion garments of Manish Malhotra, one of India’s leading designers.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabSainchi Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk, cotton, and wool embroidery in darning, pattern darning, buttonhole, herringbone, running, chain and Cretan stitches, 7 feet 5 1/2 inches × 48 1/2 inches (227.3 × 123.2 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

This exhibition is made possible by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., and The Stella Kramrisch Indian and Himalayan Art Fund.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabBagh Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in darning, pattern darning, running, chain and cross stitches, 8 feet 3 3/4 inches × 59 1/2 inches (253.4 × 151.1 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabPhulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in running, darning, pattern darning, herringbone, split, stem and cross stitches, 9 feet 5 inches × 58 inches (287 × 147.3 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabPhulkari, Early 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, running, herringbone, and double running stitches, 8 feet 6 1/2 inches × 47 1/2 inches (260.4 × 120.7 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabThirma Phulkari, 19th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun, handwoven cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in darning, whip, and running stitches, 8 feet 5 inches × 58 inches (256.5 × 147.3 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabChope Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in double running stitch, 9 feet 8 inches × 69 inches (294.6 × 175.3 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabSainchi Phulkari, Early 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun, handwoven plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning and chain stitches, 8 feet 3 inches × 52 inches (251.5 × 132.1 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

——————–

1947 to Today

When India gained independence from Great Britain in 1947, Punjab was divided—its western part in Pakistan and its eastern in India. The devastating results of Partition left many millions dead, injured, and displaced. Most families lost their heirloom phulkaris and few women had the time or facilities to embroider, apart from occasional commercial work. Over the past sixty years, Punjabis of all religions—Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs (a faith whose holy sites are located in Punjab)—have emigrated throughout South Asia and around the world. Today they are the largest South Asian diaspora. Phulkari embroidery has retained enormous emotional and symbolic significance for all Punjabis and it has been reenvisioned in many ways.

Thank you to The Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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Form

Charles Sheeler, Michener Art MuseumBobbi Arnst (click photos for large images)

James A. Michener Art Museum Will Present Groundbreaking Exhibition

Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography,
and Sculptural Form 

Multimedia retrospective to display never-before-seen photographs from a modernist icon created during his five-year tenure at Condé Nast

DOYLESTOWN, PA – In March 2017, the James A. Michener Art Museum will present Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form, a groundbreaking exhibition that features never-before-seen photographs by Charles Sheeler, one of America’s most celebrated modernists. Inspired by Sheeler’s portrait and fashion work for Condé Nast from 1926 to 1931, the multimedia show will feature a significant display of these newly discovered photographs as well as paintings and other photographs created by Sheeler, 1920s fashion ensembles, and Sheeler-designed textiles. Evoking the exuberance, glamour, and promise of the Jazz Age, the exhibition will be on view from March 18 through July 9, 2017.

Charles Sheeler, Michener Art MuseumAldous Huxley

A Philadelphia native, former Doylestown resident, and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts alumnus, Charles Sheeler is one of the founding figures of American modernism. In 1910, Sheeler and fellow artist Morton Schamberg searched for a place to retreat from Philadelphia to sketch. They found a creative and inspirational escape in Doylestown, making their home at the historic Worthington House on Mercer Avenue. It was here, a mile and a half from where the Michener Art Museum now stands, that Sheeler began to explore photography in earnest.

Charles Sheeler, Michener Art MuseumIna Clare as Betsy Ross

Sheeler’s fashion and portrait photography for Condé Nast, however, has been almost universally dismissed as purely commercial, a painter’s “day job,” and nothing more. In reality, this commercial work was instrumental in shaping his aesthetic vision. Trained in an impressionist approach to landscape painting, Sheeler experimented early in his career with compositions inspired by European modernism before developing a linear, hard-edged style now known as Precisionism. While working in this mode, he produced powerful and compelling images of the Machine Age: skyscrapers, factories, and power plants, images that established his reputation as a leading figure in American art. Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form will show that his dramatic viewpoints, rhythmic patterning, and abstract compositions were influenced by his work at Condé Nast.

Charles Sheeler, Michener Art MuseumMadame Lasse

“This exhibition will show how Sheeler’s modernist vision was refined over the course of his time at Condé Nast,” said Kirsten M. Jensen, Ph.D., the Gerry & Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the Michener Art Museum and curator of the exhibition. “It was while there he fine-tuned his particular style-objective, distant, and rigorously formal-that he then applied to all of his subsequent work.

The core of the exhibition is 85 portraits and fashion photographs from this period, on loan from the Condé Nast archives. Models adorned in jewels and couture gowns, literary giants of the era, and Broadway actors and Ziegfeld Follies dancers: the subject matter is as sensational as the Jazz Age itself. The exhibition also features select prints from Sheeler’s famous Doylestown House series as well as his photographs of modern sculpture and early portraiture, the film Manhatta (a collaboration with Paul Strand), period costumes on loan from the collections of the Museum of the City of New York and Drexel University’s Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, and paintings and photographs on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Columbus Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Princeton University Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other major institutions.

Charles Sheeler, Michener Art MuseumHelen Menken

“The James A. Michener Art Museum is an especially relevant venue for Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form considering Sheeler’s strong ties to the region,” said Lisa Tremper Hanover, director and CEO of the Michener Art Museum. “We’re thrilled to present this unknown body of work in Doylestown, where Sheeler made his first important photographs.”

Complementing the exhibit will be programming that includes lectures, curator talks, a Scholars Day, a film series, musical performances, and a New York-based symposium. For the full schedule, visit the exhibition website at CharlesSheeler.org.

Advance tickets and group tours for Charles Sheeler: Photography, Fashion, and Sculptural Form are available at MichenerArtMuseum.org or by calling 215.340.9800.

A member reception will be held on the evening of March 17, 2017, the day before the exhibition opens for public view. To become a Michener Art Museum member and receive an invitation, visit MichenerArtMuseum.org or call 215.340.9800 x110.

Major support for Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with further support from The Coby Foundation, Ltd., Visit Bucks County, an anonymous donor, and the Bucks County Foundation.

Additional funding has been provided by Bonnie J. O’Boyle and Virginia W. Sigety, Independent cabi Stylist.

In-kind support is generously provided by Condé Nast Editions.

About the James A. Michener Art Museum

The James A. Michener Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits American art, and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known Delaware Valley artists of all eras and creative disciplines. The museum presents exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop a lifelong involvement in the arts. Throughout the year, the Michener Art Museum hosts a wide range of programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance performances, jazz performances, family-themed activities, and other events. The museum also offers diverse selection of art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs for the public, schools, and teachers designed to support arts education. The James A. Michener Art Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, PA. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; and Sunday, noon – 5:00 pm. For more information, visit MichenerArtMuseum.org or call 215.340.9800.

Twitter: @MichenerArt

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Thank you to Christine Triantos, James A. Michener Art Museum, Associate Director, Marketing and Communications for the content of this post.

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Vlisco

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StagePrinted Textile, 2005. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 12 feet × 47 1/2 inches (365.8 × 120.7 cm). Private Collection, ©Vlisco

Creative Africa, Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Through January 22, 2017

Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building

The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates West and Central African fashion and culture in an exhibition exploring the classic and contemporary looks of Vlisco, the oldest international textile brand that specializes in Dutch wax fabrics. From the earliest designs and most recognizable patterns, continuing through a selection of iconic styles that have been re-interpreted in a contemporary way, the exhibition will highlight a selection of the thousands of patterns Vlisco has produced for the African and diaspora markets.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StagePrinted Textile, 2005. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 12 feet × 47 1/2 inches (365.8 × 120.7 cm). Private Collection, ©Vlisco

Dilys Blum, The Museum’s Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles and organizer of this exhibition, said: “The wax-printed fabrics long associated with Central and West Africa have a surprising history that is truly global.  Many of the patterns shown in this display tell stories and convey images that reflect Africa’s past and reimagine its future. For this special presentation in Philadelphia, we are celebrating the transnational character of Vlisco by showing the company’s classic designs, these classics re-imagined, and new contemporary patterns, sharing how fashion designers in West Africa and other parts of the world use Vlisco wax fabrics today.”

When cloth leaves the factory it is generally identified only by a stock number. The women who trade in the open-air markets in African cities, and their customers, assign the patterns names inspired by current events, politics, religion, and material culture. The exhibition explores the ways in which such patterns acquire social meaning, status, and value and become culturally assimilated into African society, and examine how designs can have many interpretations depending on where they are used.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StagePrinted Textile, Late 20th century. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 36 × 47 1/2 inches (91.4 × 120.7 cm). Private Collection, © Vlisco

Among the classic patterns represented are the “Happy Family” egg motif, featuring an image of a hen surrounded by her chicks and chicks-to-be referencing the importance of family, and the “Fallen Tree” pattern that acts as a visual substitute for a proverb that teaches unity and strength in Ghana. The “Alphabet” design symbolizes the value that Africans place on education, and “Swallows”, a symbol of good luck, refers to the transience of riches. The classic “Swallows” pattern was worn by flight attendants for Air Afrique in the 1970s. The display will show how this particular pattern has been reinterpreted to include airplane imagery, a symbol of globalization.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage“La Famille” Printed Textile, 1952. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 18 feet × 47 1/4 inches (548.6 × 120 cm). Private Collection, © Vlisco

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage“Angelina” Printed Textile, 1962. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 70 × 48 1/4 inches (177.8 × 122.6 cm). Private Collection, © Vlisco

The “Eye” pattern, one of the most enduring European designs for the African market, appears in the exhibition in multiple variations and colors.  The original design of 1904 by the Haarlem Cotton Company was inspired by the Egyptian god Horus, a symbol of protection, royal power, and good health.  Some of the eye patterns were intended to silently communicate and identify with a woman’s family and marital relationships.  In Nigeria, the original Haarlem pattern is known as “Eyes”. In Côte d’Ivoire, it is called “Bull’s Eye” and is worn by a woman to show a man that she desires him.  Also in Côte d’Ivoire, the classic “Jumping Horse” pattern expresses rivalry between co-wives.  In Nigeria, Igbo women favor this design for family to express unity at their annual women’s meeting.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StageDazzling Graphics Collection, 2011, Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, Photograph courtesy of Vlisco

The exhibition will touch upon the rise of the most successful market women in Togo, called the Nana Benz, who traded in wax prints beginning in the 1930s. The Nana Benz were essential to the success or failure of the designs.  Wholesalers to other market traders, the women provided Vlisco agents with information on customer preferences. In return, the women were often given exclusive access to certain designs.  A playful design featuring the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star logo pays homage to these traders, as this was their car of choice and became a symbol of their success.  In another design, the Vlisco logo on the radiator grill replaces the car’s original trademark. 

Displayed on mannequins in the center of the gallery is an installation of contemporary designs using the wax fabrics as created by African, diaspora and other international designers. 

One of Nigeria’s foremost fashion designers, Lanre da Silva Ajayi, who is known for her ultra-feminine looks and elegant use of prints, has collaborated with Vlisco on numerous projects including a gala dress on view in the exhibition.  The designer’s ensemble is made in a limited-edition shimmering gold print embellished with the designer’s signature beads and sequins.

Owner and creative director Araba Stephens Akompi of the Ghanaian fashion house Stylista has reconfigured patterns showing a Spanish fan to create a flamenco-style dress with a distinctively African twist. Stylista sees this gala dress as an evolution of the traditional Ghanaian blouse with a matching skirt.

The exhibition features ensembles by Vlisco’s senior fashion designer from 2008 to 2016, Inge van Lierop, who was responsible for translating each seasonal concept into stylish ensembles used for marketing. A strapless, two-piece wedding dress made from two color ways of the same design is embellished with beads, as is the veil, which was embroidered in India. Deconstructed and made into a late 1960s-style mini dress that pays homage to the decade when the design first achieved popularity, the classic “Angelina” pattern associated with the dashiki a loose tunic worn by men and women is updated and re-colored in luminous pastels for a more contemporary look.

The fashions of Manish Arora, one of today’s most inspiring designers, fuse his Indian roots, global style, and contemporary popular culture.  This year, Arora has collaborated with Vlisco for his ready-to-wear collection shown recently in Paris and inspired by the American West.  For his ensemble on display, he has re-interpreted wax prints into knit fabrics. 

Ikiré Jones of Philadelphia, led by Nigerian-American menswear designer, Walé Oyéjidé, shows how the designs can be creatively cut and mixed together for unique looks.  His  hand-tailored trousers, and a jacket made of Vlisco fabric, are accessorized with a storytelling scarf.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage is one of five exhibitions in the Perelman Building this season, accompanied by related programs that feature a broad spectrum of the arts from across the African continent. They feature historical works of art as well as contemporary fashion, photography, design, and architecture. Each calls attention to the continuities and differences between African art forms over the centuries.

The related exhibitions are:

Look Again: Contemporary Perspectives on African Art, a major exhibition drawn from the collection of the Penn Museum (May 14 through December 4, 2016).

Threads of Tradition, focusing on the traditional patterns in West and Central African textiles and the techniques used to create them, including strip weaving, resist dyeing, piecing, appliqué, and embroidery (Through January 2017).

The Architecture of Francis Kéré: Building for Community, featuring a site-specific, immersive environment designed by this world-renowned Burkina-Faso-born architect (May 14–September 25, 2016).

Three Photographers/Six Cities presents an in-depth look at three photographers who create powerful pictures of African cities: Cairo, Egypt; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bamako, and Tombouctou (Timbuktu), Mali. From Akinbode Akinbiyi’s observation of urban centers and Seydou Camara’s examination of Islamic manuscripts to Ananias Léki Dago’s pictures of offbeat locales, the images offer unique perspectives on contemporary African experience (Through September 25, 2016).

Curator: Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles

Location: Joan Spain Gallery

About Vlisco

Vlisco, founded in 1846, began exporting factory printed cloth to West Africa around 1876. Over the years Vlisco absorbed several Dutch textile manufacturers that also produced wax prints for the market prior to World War I. Today it is the last surviving European wax-resist textile manufacturer. The Vlisco brand is manufactured in Helmond, Netherlands and is the premier brand of the Vlisco group which includes three other brands, GTP and Woodin made in Ghana and Uniwax produced in Cote d’Ivoire. Each brand caters to a distinct segment of the market.

Social Media: #CreativeAfrica 

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Thank you to The Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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