Florida State University : Museum of Fine Arts
Cognizant of the fact that vigorous regional organizations whose traditional and untraditional quilts make colorful exhibitions, the Museum undertook a different approach characterized by mixed media, new materials, digital images from jacquard looms, and inventive applications of fabric. The exhibition premise also required an historical component in order to describe the deliberate re-appearance of textile works in the latter half of the 20th century: a powerful movement revolved around the pioneer artists of the sixties and seventies who re-claimed media that had been historically sidelined and these artists brought everything that textile arts signified into the political consciousness of the contemporary art world. In Thread of Life there are works that address civil rights and imprisonment, the sweat shop, natural disasters and man-made ones, and the human narrative from birth to poetic elegy. Artists who are weavers, painters, sculptors and needleworkers have created exciting narratives and statements, ecological landscapes and installations.
Thread of Life focuses on textile art, which prior to the 1960s, was barely thinkable as a concept in the United States at a time when art critics and historians categorized textiles as craft.
During the past half-century the boundaries have continued shifting and textiles or fiber arts have acquired ever more practicing adherents. In the 1970s, three feminist artists whose work appears in Thread of Life, intensified and effected change in the art world attitude toward textiles: the work of Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, and Judy Chicago, as well as the textile work of many who followed, are now unambiguously recognized. As Elissa Auther points out in her book published in 2010, String, Felt, Thread, The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art, both male and female artists began to adopt textiles as a medium of choice as early as the late 1970s.
Florida State University
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
The exhibition Thread of Life was organized by the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts in concert with Guest Curators Molly Barron and Linda Harkey and MoFA Curators Viki D. Thompson Wylder, and Teri R. Abstein. Project Staff: Allys Palladino-Craig, Editor and Grant Writer; Jean D. Young, Fiscal Officer and Book Designer; Teri R. Abstein, Communications Officer; Viki D. Thompson Wylder, Education Curator; Wayne Vonada, Chief Preparator.
This program was sponsored in part by:
The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Tallahassee State Partners Initiative and the Leon County Cultural Development Program, both administered by the Council on Culture and Art.