Explore how the Dutch company Vlisco became one of the most influential textile brands in West and Central African fashion and a design inspiration around the world. Known for its bold and colorful patterns, Vlisco creates fabrics that marry tradition with luxury. This exhibition highlights the company's classic and new designs, follows the creation of a textile, and showcases a selection of contemporary fashions by African and European makers as well as Vlisco's in-house design team.
This exhibit focuses on the time-honored techniques used to create patterns in Central and West African textiles. Among the examples on view are complex strip-woven kente cloths made by the Asante and Ewe of Ghana, an impressive resist-dyed display textile (or ndop) from Cameroon, and raffia skirts that the Kuba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo create using piecing, appliqué, and embroidery.
Covering Letter is an immersive installation and video projection by Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat. Projected onto a traversable curtain of cascading fog, this work presents a historical letter by Mahatma Gandhi to Adolf Hitler, written just weeks before the start of World War II. In the spirit of his doctrine of universal friendship, Gandhi begins the letter with the greeting "Dear friend." Mist diffuses Gandhi's projected text, echoing the fate of his message, which went unheeded. Jitish Kallat describes this correspondence as a plea from a great advocate of peace to one of the most violent individuals who ever lived. It is equally an open invitation for self-reflection, as its scrolling words speak to the extreme violence in the world today.Kallat's interest in remediating history through the actions and words of historical figures aligns Covering Letter with his earlier work. In his Public Notice series, Kallat staged sculptural and interactive interventions that similarly appropriated texts by Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru (India's first prime minister), and Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda. In revisiting these historical documents, Kallat calls attention to the possibilities of peace and tolerance in a world plagued by violence, control, and surveillance. Jitish Kallat: Covering Letter is the first exhibition of this work in the United States. It also marks the tenth anniversary of the Museum's Live Cinema series, which is dedicated to exploring the vast production of contemporary video and film work.
Best known for his glass vessels, Lino Tagliapietra has also devoted himself to realizing two-dimensional glass works that match the scale and complexity of paintings. While these large-scale abstract panels may initially be read as paintings on canvas, closer inspection reveals they have been made of kiln-fused glass that captures and transmits light. This exhibition highlights five vibrant works from his panel series, the culmination of a lifetime spent learning how the union of glass and heat unleashes a rare, transformative power. Born in 1934 on the Venetian island of Murano, Tagliapietra earned the title of maestro (master) at the age of 21. He has become famous for his expertise in blowing glass into expressive forms that take the stretching and twisting of molten glass to new heights. From mixing his own colors to reimagining traditional methods to create new effects in blown glass, Tagliapietra has never been content to stay in one place, in his art or in his life. In 1979 Tagliapietra traveled to the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, where he shared closely guarded glassblowing techniques with eager American students. He was welcomed into the American glass community, where, unlike in the glasshouses of Murano, individuality was celebrated. His first experiences in the US inspired him to pursue his unique vision, which marries complex colors with elaborate, abstract patterning that celebrates the cultures and places to which his extensive travels have taken him. Though he now demonstrates his techniques around the world, he divides his time between Seattle and Murano, which can be seen as the twin poles of his career.
Design Currents presents the work of three contemporary designers--Oki Sato of Tokyo, Faye Toogood of London, and Zanini de Zanine of Rio de Janeiro--who deftly use handcrafted and industrial materials and techniques to create functional yet deeply expressive objects. The exhibition looks at the links between context and creativity by examining the distinct culture and methods of each designer's studio. It also shares how their versatile skills, focus on collaboration, and experimentation with artisanal and manufactured materials help shape our experience of the objects and their surroundings.