Current Textiles at the Yale University Art Gallery

Since its reopening in late 2012, I have spent quite a bit of time at the Yale University Art Gallery. It’s an easy day trip out of NYC, and they have a great collection and often many wonderful special exhibits. I wrote about my first impressions at my personal blog in January 2013. Our other museum of choice is the Yale Center for British Art. And yes, we often partake in quite a bit of Swedish design when we’re in New Haven. 😉

Earlier this month, Liz Gipson, aka Yarnworker, posted a link about a special exhibit, Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas. I added it to my list for “next time we’re in New Haven”.

This past Sunday we stopped in. I didn’t research the exhibit before, and had no idea what to expect. The exhibit description is apt, “Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas examines intersections between the art-making and art-collecting strategies of the Alberses, two of the most influential figures of 20th-century modernism.” I’m not well versed in describing art to do justice to the exhibit. My camera phone isn’t up to the task either and I’ll spare you my blurry photos though it makes for a text-heavy post.

I was fascinated by the textiles Anni collected, her sketches, and her weaving. Anni’s weaving Red and Blue Layers, 1954 and Thickly Settled, 1957 caught my attention and I wanted desperately to touch them but was well behaved! Other items I wanted to touch, but were frustratingly under glass included a spindle and a bag. I complained at length to my husband about the lack of information in the display tags. How much did the spindle weigh? Why are they displaying the cop that way? It doesn’t work like that! I may have also gone into at least a ten minute discussion with my husband about various forms of weaving and lamented how I wanted to see inside the bag. He wandered away from me at that point.

I plan to do some additional research, from reading through several books in my collection and spending some time with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation website, and hope to return to the exhibit before it closes on June 18th. Tip: To proceed directly to this exhibit, take the West elevator/stairs to the fourth floor.

Other Exhibits

There were two other special exhibits we stumbled upon. Both are worthwhile of time and attention and I hope I can spend more time with them as well.

Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light. Wilfred was an innovative artist creating spellbinding light compositions as early as 1919! I knew nothing about this artist and wish I hadn’t been caught off guard. In order to showcase the light properly this exhibit is kept in the dark. It is stunning, especially when you stop to realize how early he started working on this. If you want to see a performance of kinetic and light art, this Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 5:30 pm, Joshua White will give a performance, After Wilfred: The Contemporary Lumia Experience. I’m curious about this performance and wish New Haven were closer! This exhibit is open through July 23, 2017 and will be at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in October.

Let Us March On: Lee Friedlander and the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom Friedlander was a young photographer who went to Washington DC on May 17, 1957 for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. I had no idea about this event, a forerunner to the 1963 March on Washington. His photographs are striking. We didn’t spent nearly enough time here, it is a small space and was quite crowded. If you cannot make it to the Art Museum, I urge you to look over the collection, you’ll find Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (at podium), Rosa Parks and Ella Barker, and many more.

February Yale University Art Gallery Special Exhibitions

Summary of Exhibitions:

Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas
February 3, 2017–June 18, 2017

Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light
February 17, 2017-July 23, 2017
Yale University Art Gallery
October 6, 2017–January 7, 2018
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Let Us March On: Lee Friedlander and the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom
January 13, 2017–July 9, 2017

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