Spun spins a museum-wide web of textile-related exhibits at the Denver Art Museum
Lucas Samaras, "Reconstruction #20," 1977. Sewn fabrics; 87 x 85 in. Denver Art Museum; National Endowment for the Arts, Dayton Hudson Foundation, Alliance for Contemporary Art M/M Edward Strauss, M/M Donald S. Graham, and anonymous donor, © the artist. Detail.
Spun: Adventures in Textiles, this summer's huge, campus-wide aggregation of exhibitions devoted to the textile arts at the Denver Art Museum, is definitely going to require more than one visit to absorb. In fact, DAM curators -- every single one of them had a hand in putting the shows together -- are banking on it. The wildly varied products of their labors collectively represent the wealth of textiles that have been tucked away for years in the museum collection, out of view.
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That's changing, thanks in part to a generous gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as a planned shift of museum offices to a new building under construction, which will open up more gallery space: specifically, the newly expanded textile art galleries and hands-on Textile Art Studio. Spun's centerpiece, Cover Story, featuring long-hidden pieces -- rugs, woven shawls, quilts and bags -- from the collection, fills those spaces beautifully.
But that's just the beginning of a long, artful journey through textile-based works both ancient and up-to-the-minute modern, as well as all forms of imagery associated with fabric and fashion. As DAM director Christoph Heinrich notes, "There's a lot of fun in Spun!"
Following is a quick guide to what there is to explore in Spun, which begins Sunday, May 19, and continues through September 22. For more information about the shows and a myriad of associated events, visit the DAM website or call 720-865-5000.
"Spring" ("Wiosna") (detail), designed by Stefan Galkowski (1912-1984) and manufactured by Wanda Cooperative; Cracow, Poland; about 1961. Wool and linen tapestry. Denver Art Museum; Neusteter Textile Collection: Gift of The Moskowitz Family.
The heart of Spun, this exhibit follows the function of and decorative beauty of textiles through history and global cultures, drawing from the DAM's extensive collection.
Unknown Navajo Artist, Poncho, about 1850. Wool and dye. Denver Art Museum; Funds from Exeter Co., accumulated memorial funds, acquisition challenge grant and a partial gift of Robert S. Gast, Jr.
Red, White and Bold: Masterworks of Navajo Design, 1840-1870
If you remember the wall of tuxedos in last year's Yves Saint Laurent show, you might appreciate what native arts curator Nancy Blomberg has similarly done with Navajo shoulder blankets in the exhibit's main room. The soaring, two-story display's effect is stunning, and the workmanship exquisite.
Jacqueline Groag, Untitled, about 1956. Dress fabric, printed cotton. Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III Collection. Photo from the book Jacqueline Groag: Textile and Pattern Design, published by ACC.
Pattern Play: The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag
Design curator Darrin Alfred showcases Czech-born mid-century fabric designer Jacqueline Groag's vibrant, abstracted patterned textiles.
Ernesto Neto, "Walking in Venus blue cave," 2001. Stocking (nylon), Styrofoam, buttons and incandescent lights; 156 x 306 x 328 in. Denver Art Museum; Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum, © the artist; courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.
Contemporary curator William Morrow explores the non-traditional incorporation of textiles, recycled materials, found objects and adventurous ideas by modern artists, drawing both from the museum collection and borrowed works. Some pieces are recent acquisitions on view at the DAM for the first time.
Bruce Price, "Medium & Large Aggregation," 2012. Acrylic paint and fabric on paper; 30 x 22 in. Lent by the artist. © the artist; courtesy Plus Gallery, Denver & CuratorialAccessories.com.
Bruce Price: Works on Paper, 2007-2012
Especially notable because it's a museum exhibit given over to one of our own, this is a survey of work by Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design instructor and Plus Gallery artist Price over the last five years. Small but potent, the show includes a shelf of Price's "follies" -- works on paper that have been cleverly twisted into three-dimensional shapes. A must-see for fans of the local scene.
"Mama Occollo," from "Inca Rulers" (set of sixteen, detail), Peru, late 1800s. Oil on canvas. Gift of Dr. Belinda Straight.
Fashion Fusion: Native Textiles in Spanish Colonial Art
With a focus on the DAM's impressive Spanish colonial galleries, Fashion Fusion showcases paintings and other works that reflect clothing, textile patterns and designs.
Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza, "Nervous Structure," 2013 (Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA. January 10-March 2, 2013). ©Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza.
Annica Cuppetelli and Mendoza: Transposition
On view in the Hamilton Building's fourth-floor Fuse Box, this interactive, multimedia piece consists of suspended elastic cords illuminated by motion-activated video projections.
William Penhallow Henderson, Fiesta Brown Eyed Beauty,1924. Oil paint on canvas. Private Collection, Denver, Colorado.
Western Duds: How Clothing Helped Create an Archetype
Who in the Wild West doesn't like cowboy gear? The popularity of Rockmount Ranch Wear seals that deal. Western Duds culls four paintings from the DAM's Western art collection that highlight that very thing.
Panel (detail), Uzbekistan, Bukhara, 1800s. Silk and cotton; velvet ikat (resist-dyed velvet warp thread). Denver Art Museum, Neusteter Textile Collection: Gift of Guido Goldman.
Irresistible: Multicolored Textiles from Asia
The East gets its due, too, in Spun. Asian art curator Ronald Otsuka mines the collection for a rich survey of pan-Asian textiles and garments.
August Sander, "Putzfrau" ("Cleaning Woman"), 1928. © 2013 Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Cologne / ARS, NY. Seydou Keïta, Untitled, 1959. Loan from The Walther Collection, New York.
Common Threads: Portraits by August Sander and Seydo Keïta
Even the photography gallery gets into the weave with this two-artist series of people and what they wear.
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