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INNOVATORS & LEGENDS: Generations in Textiles and Fibers


Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Lexington, KY
Pattern Fusion No. 12: Motherboard 3
Machine stitched and interlaced: recycled auto industry Mylar, recylced library 35mm microfilm, netting, multi-colored threads, plaited braid, Holographic film, Pellon, polymer medium, fabric backed, 2009
73 ½ x 76 ½ inches
Photography: Tim Collins Photography, Lexington, KY

Nick Cave
Chicago, IL
Mixed media, 2009
97 x 26 x 20 inches
Photography: James Prinz Photography/Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

Nancy Crow
Baltimore, OH
Self-Portrait: Day Dreams and Focus
August-September 2011©Nancy Crow
Monoprints, 100% cotton, MX-dyes, pieced, hand quilted, 2011
88x 88 inches
Photography: J. Kevin Fitzsimons

Sally Hayden Gilmore
Hillsboro, OR
Cast unryu paper, acrylic medium, urethane foam, polymer clay, hand felted wool, 2011
12 x 30 x 16 inches
Photography: Courtesy of the Artist

Ted Hallman
Lederach, PA
Spider Lady
Weaving, wool, circa 1990
32 x 32 x ¾ inches
Photography: Frederic Reinecke

Gerhardt Knodel
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Do You See What I See?
Tyvek, felt, horsehair, cotton, wood, plastic, metal, 2011
90 x 90 x 12 inches
Photography: jp Rearick

Gyöngy Laky
San Francisco, CA
Globalization III: Red Ink
Ash branches, commercial wood, paint, bullets for building, 2005
32 x 97 x 4 inches
Photography: Bob Hsiang


Traveling exhibition by trailblazing fiber artists debuts in Muskegon

Innovators and Legends: Generations in Textiles and Fiber
, an exhibition of artwork by multiple generations of top-tier, internationally celebrated fiber artists opens December 13 at the Muskegon Museum of Art. The MMA and guest curator Geary Jones have organized the exhibition for national tour.

Innovators and Legends explores the explosion of fiber as a fine arts movement during the latter half of the 20th century with over 75 works by 50 artists. The exhibition tells the story of the ongoing transformation of fiber arts from the functional and decorative to the innovative and experimental, and the creative potential of the wide array of diverse materials and techniques being used today. Contemporary themes such as narrative, identity, ecology, recycling, and political thought are explored, while continuing to draw upon the beauty and visual richness achieved through color, pattern, texture, and form.

The idea for the exhibition was conceived by Geary Jones, a Grand Rapids, Michigan based artist and teacher. Jones approached Museum staff with the idea of bringing to West Michigan an exhibition that would give the casual viewer and scholar alike a chance to see some of the extraordinary originality that suffuses the world of fibers and textiles. MMA Assistant Curator Art Martin wrote in an article for FiberArts Magazine that “Actually, the initial conversation [with Jones] went a little more like: ‘I know some amazing artists, who know other amazing artists, and we could put together a fiber and textile show that will be absolutely spectacular.’” Geary’s excitement was infectious, and the exhibition was a perfect fit for a schedule celebrating the Museum’s 100th Anniversary in 2012.

Curator Jones comments that Innovators and Legends contains art by “some of the best fiber artists in the world” and that “it will be a stunning exhibition, and regardless of personal taste, there should be something that just about anyone can relate to.”

Participating artists are among the finest in the field of fiber art. Beginning with artists active in the 1960s—and Katherine Westphal from the 1940s—Innovators and Legends uses the art as a framework for exploring the recognition of fibers as fine art and the innovations that have occurred in the field. As each generation of artists in this exhibition pushed the boundaries of tradition, they enabled subsequent artists to expand further, challenging the very nature of fiber arts. Internationally celebrated artists such as Gerhardt Knodel, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Tom Lundberg, Nancy Crow, and Sherri Smith recommended peers and former students for inclusion, establishing a base of teaching and reciprocal inspiration upon which to build the exhibition.
MMA Assistant Curator Art Martin notes, “The art is as impressive as the careers and talent of the artists, and is a something-for-everyone experience. To touch on a few of the highlights: the knitted superhero costumes of Mark Newport and a Soundsuit by Nick Cave will share space with Gyöngy Laky’s natural wood construction Globalization III: Red Ink, Nancy Crow’s monoprint textile Self-Portrait: Day Dreams and Focus, hand-dyed quilts by Mary Anne Jordan, and a felt sculpture by Joan Livingstone. Arturo Alonzo Sandoval has contributed two pieces from his Pattern Fusion series, Ted Hallman two woven works from different points in his career, and Gerhardt Knodel a new mixed media work, Do You See What I See?

Innovators and Legends opens December 13 with a reception, comments from the curator, and a panel discussion led by Gerhardt Knodel, a renowned fiber artist and former director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. The opening event is free and open to the public. Call (231) 720-2598 to make reservations to attend the opening.

After closing at the MMA on March 17, 2013, the exhibition will travel to three venues: the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, New York, from May 26 to August 11, 2013; the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky from September 8 to December 1, 2013; and the University Art Museum of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado from January 24 to April 11, 2014.

A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, published by the MMA, accompanies Innovators and Legends. This full color book illustrates works by all 50 of the artists represented in Innovators and Legends, along with artist statements, biographical notes, and curatorial essays.

Book Sample Pages: Title Page, Curator's Essay, Curator's Essay pt. 2, Artist section cover page, Nick Cave p. 32, Cave p. 33, Karen Hampton p.46, Hampton p. 47, Mary Anne Jordan p.50, Jordan p.51, Hyuk Kwon p.56, Kwon p. 57, Jane Lackey p.58, Lackey p. 59, Michael Olszewski p. 78, Olszewski p. 79, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval p. 84 , Sandoval p. 85, Checklist pgs. 116, 117, 118, 119, 120.

Local exhibition sponsors include SPX Corporation, Blue Lake Public Radio, and MLive/Muskegon Chronicle. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


Workshops by Innovators and Legends Artists
To register, or for information, call (231) 720.2571 by November 26, 2012.

Lines, Curves, Circles and Figure/Ground
Part I: Machine-Piecing Workshop
Instructor: Nancy Crow
5 days, December 10-14, 9:00 am-noon, 2:00-5:00 pm

Drawing with Yarn: Tapestry Made Easy
Instructors: David Johnson and Geary Jones
3 days; December 13-15, 9:00 am-noon, 2:00-5:00 pm

Contemporary Cedar Bark Basketry workshop has been CANCELED.

Thursday, December 13, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Films
Free admission! Bring your lunch and relax with complimentary coffee and cookies. After the films check out Cave’s and Knodel’s work in Innovators and Legends.
Underwritten by the Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.
Clips of artist Nick Cave’s Soundsuits in Action
The textile suits of art that Nick Cave creates come to life when they are worn and in movement. These clips document a few of the performances in which Cave’s art is truly in its most complete form. (10 mins.)
Gerhardt Knodel: An Artist and his Work
This short film showcases another acclaimed fiber artist, Gerhardt Knodel. Knodel is a Cranbrook graduate and known for his woven architectural sculptures. Learn about the process of how his massive works are constructed and installed. (19 mins.)

Thursday, December 13
Opening Reception and Special Program

5:30 pm Reception
7:00 pm Artists’ Panel Discussion
The public is invited to the opening reception, followed by a special program featuring comments from the curator and a panel discussion led by Gerhardt Knodel, a renowned fiber artist and former director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. The event is free and open to the public. Call (231) 720-2598 to make reservations.
Thursday, December 27, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Kids’ Art Class
Instructor: Cathy Mott
Cost: $20 non-members/$15 members
Ages: 11-14
Make your own mitten-size version of Nick Cave’s Soundsuit! Working with wool and fleece, cut and sew a set of mittens, then adorn them with anything and everything, including buttons, yarn, fake flowers, letters, and sequins. Wiggle your fingers and move your hands to make your SoundMitten come to life. Call (231) 720-2571 by December 20 to register.

Open Tours   
Thursdays, January 3 through February 14, 1:00-3:00 pm
Sundays, January 13 & February 10, 1:00-2:00 pm
Drop in for guided tours of Innovators and Legends led by MMA docents. Thursday tours are free. The Sunday tour is free for Muskegon Community College students, MMA members, or with paid Museum admission. Registration is not required.

Saturday, February 11, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Pirates and Fairies Super Saturday
Free Family Fun Day

ARRRRR matey! Wear your eye patches and wings at this adventurous Super Saturday.  Free activities and admission underwritten by Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.
10:00 am & 1:00 pm
Film: Hook (142 mins.)
This film is a twist on the old classic Peter Pan. In order to save his family, a grown-up Peter Pan returns to take on the vengeful Captain Hook. Who will win? 
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Guided Exhibition Tour of Innovators and Legends with a Museum Docent.
11:00 am -2:00 pm
Make & Take craft project weaves in fun, finishing with a new pirate patch or fairy wing.

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