STARTUP 2 - Page 48

In the Museum

While the installation at Municipal Pier 9 is on the scale of landscape, the three floors Hamilton transforms in The Fabric Workshop and Museum are on the scale of thread, needle, book, and bed. The Museum’s galleries display a number of digital prints by Hamilton, along with a selection of historical objects—including literary commonplace books, textile sample books, dolls, and needlework portfolios—borrowed from Philadelphia museums and public collections. The Design Center at Philadelphia University, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and Winterthur Museum Garden & Library generously allowed Hamilton access to their collections to choose objects to include in habitus. Many of the objects collected by the artist are fragments of cloth and text. Hamilton is attracted by their color and their pattern, but more so by the potential of fragments to represent the material record of individual hands and to suggest the possibility of transformation. A picture of past lives—that of seamstresses, weavers, fabric printers, and individual makers—is evoked throughout the three floors. Lace samplers, fabric swatch books, and commonplace books are on view, alongside a collection of 19th century hand-woven blankets. In addition to the display of historic collections, Hamilton worked with early-generation flatbed and wand scanners as tools to image the objects and generate a new series of prints, which render the objects’ tactility. In its totality, this compendium of objects is the vision of an artist who says that her first hand was a sewing hand and who engaged with artifacts from the past to create this project.

On Tumblr: cloth ● a commonplacer

Hamilton has invited the public to submit passages of published writing that reference the social and material life of cloth. Traditionally, the collection of texts from disparate sources is called a “commonplace” reflecting the idiosyncratic interests, organization, and practices of an individual reader. This assembly of excerpts will be offset on newsprint and distributed on long shelves in the exhibition for visitors to read and keep, thereby forming another collection. Among the fragments now residing on Tumblr are a verse by Raymond Carver, shakily embroidered in coal black thread on a pale pink cloth, a passage from Middlemarch, and patching and mending samples from Home Economics classes in the 1930s. The public is invited to contribute passages to www.cloth-a-commonplace.tumblr.com. A gallery guide written and designed by the artist will also be available. After the completion of habitus, a comprehensive, illustrated publication will be created. More of an artist’s book than a conventional catalogue, it will be published by The Fabric Workshop and Museum..

Ann hamilton

is internationally recognized for her large scale, multi-media installations, including the event of a thread, which was staged in 2012 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Born in Lima, Ohio, Hamilton studied the textile arts at the University of Kansas before earning a MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art. Hamilton has received a National Medal of Arts, MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, the Heinz Award, and was chosen to represent the United States at the 1991 Sao Paulo Biennial and the 1999 Venice Biennale. In 1992, she established her home and practice in Columbus, Ohio. She is currently a Distinguished University Professor of Art at The Ohio State University.

Ann Hamilton • habitus • 2016. Installation at Municipal Pier 9, made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo credit: Thibault Jeanson.

Major support for Ann Hamilton: habitus has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Coby Foundation, Ltd., the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Shipley-Miller Foundation.