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Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction | Featuring Jeffrey Gibson

This transformative exhibition explores how abstract art and woven textiles have intertwined over the past hundred years.

In the 20th century, textiles have often been considered lesser—as applied art, women’s work, or domestic craft. Woven Histories challenges the hierarchies that often separate textiles from fine arts. Putting into dialogue some 160 works by more than 50 creators from across generations and continents, the exhibition explores the contributions of weaving and related techniques to abstraction, modernism’s preeminent art form.  

See a variety of textile techniques including weaving, knitting, netting, knotting, and felting. Understand the wide-ranging reasons artists from Anni Albers to Rosemarie Trockel and Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians/Cherokee Nation) have engaged with this art form. Some seek to effect social change, others to address political issues. Engaging with textiles as subject, material, and technique, others revitalize abstraction’s formal conventions or critique its patriarchal history and gendered identity. 

Explore this overlooked thread of art history that centers new voices: creators once marginalized for their gender, race, or class. 

Image: Jeffrey Gibson, The Anthropophagic Effect, Garment no. 4, 2019. Collection of The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.