Elsi Giauque, Élément spatial (Spatial Element), 1979. Linen, silk, wool, and metal, twenty frames, each 35 3⁄8 x 37 3⁄8 x 1⁄4 inches. Mudac–Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne, Switzerland. Photo by John Kennard.
Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present is the first exhibition in 40 years to examine the development of abstraction and dimensionality in fiber art from the mid-twentieth century through to the present. Adapting age-old techniques and traditional materials, artists working in fiber manipulate gravity, light, color, mass, and transparency to demonstrate the infinite transformations and iterations of their material. Early pioneers such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, and Claire Zeisler demonstrated a revolutionary redefinition of fiber art in the 1960s and 70s, showcasing radical, non-representational forms. Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present addresses the cultural and critical forces that contributed to the initial efflorescence of the fiber revolution in the mid-century, its contraction in the 1980s, and its recent reclamation by contemporary artists.
Crisscrossing generations, nationalities, processes, and approaches, the exhibition features approximately 50 works by 34 artists—including works by the aforementioned artists alongside Olga de Amaral, Eva Hesse, Ernesto Neto, Rosemarie Trockel, Anne Wilson, and Haegue Yang—that range from small-scale weavings to immersive environments, all made in fiber.
Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present is organized by Jenelle Porter, ICA Mannion Family Senior Curator, and will be on view at the ICA from October 1, 2014 through January 4, 2015. Following its premiere in Boston, the exhibition will tour nationally to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (January 30 – April 5, 2015) and Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (May 8, 2015 – August 2, 2015).