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Ingenious Fabrications

Wednesday, October 30, 1985–Wednesday, November 27, 1985

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Artists: James Carpenter, Tony Costanzo, Roy De Forest, Richard DeVore, The Reverend Howard Finster, Tina Girouard, Rebecca Howland, Steven Keister, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Joseph Nechvatal, Louise Nevelson, Italo Scanga, Pat Steir, Anita Thacker, Robert Venturi, Betty Woodman, Claire Zeister, Harry Anderson, Juanita Mizuno, Ned Smyth, and Will Stokes

Ingenious Fabrications presents approximately 35 practical and conceptual works incorporating silk-screened fabric designed by artists, craftspeople and architects at the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia. The Gallery 400 exhibition highlighted diverse projects that ranged from the practical to the purely decorative to provocative political commentaries. The lively installation featured a large dining tent, doorways, wall-coverings, draped fabric and imaginative lamps with anthropomorphic overtones created by Philadelphia artist Harry Anderson.

The Fabric Workshop, founded in 1977, is a unique operation, which invites both nationally known and emerging artists and architects to work with master printers in a new medium–silk-screened fabric. The roster of artists-in-residence – including craftspeople, conceptual and performance artists, architects, folk artists, and “pattern and decoration” painters – indicates the very open-minded philosophy of the Workshop’s organizers. The master printers work closely with participants in the Workshop program, encouraging experimentation and helping to resolve execution problems. The workshop’s aim – to promote the marriage of art and function – had particular relevance in the mid-1980s, when “artists furniture” and architect-designed objects were in the limelight. There had been no major exhibition outside Philadelphia highlighting Fabric Workshop output since the 1979 Institute of Contemporary Art show (which came to Chicago’s MCAP and the 1980 Independant Curator’s exhibition). Ingenious Fabrications was the first show in Chicago to present projects from the previous five years (1980-85), focusing on the second half of the Workshop’s first decade of existence.

The workshop’s aim – to promote the marriage of art and function – had particular relevance in the mid-1980s, when “artists furniture” and architect-designed objects were in the limelight.

Among the garments exhibited were sculptor Louise Nevelson’s Opera Chorus Robe and Chicago fiber artist Claire Zeisler’s multi-layered body suit and robe, as well as costumes for a performance piece designed by Joseph Nechvatal. Table cloths, napkins, and canvas chair covers were other formats adopted by Fabric Workshop guest artists and architects, but art objects also adorned the walls and floors – including electric green patterned wallpaper by sculptor Steven Keister and trompe I’oeil fabric floor tiles by architect Tony Costanzo. Architect Robert Venturi’s recognizable “Notebook” and “Grandmother” patterns adorned Swid Powell dinnerware and Knoll furniture. The wildly fertile creativity of California sculptor Italo Scanga was fully evident in his “Animal” napkins.

Ceramicists also met the Fabric Workshop challenge very successfully. Betty Woodman created an elaborately patterned, scrolled doorway through which her vessels could be viewed. Richard DeVore covered cotton with the meditative black pattern that he also used for a tall, simple clay pot; together the pieces formed Requiem.

Robert Morris and Rebecca Howland proved that functional formats could raise public consciousness about the pressing issues of our times. Morris, with Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud, presented a rather disturbing bed on which one could lie. Howland’s Toxicological Table Setting, with acrid-colored ceramics sitting atop an illustrated tablecloth, directed the social critique toward toxic waste problems.

Objects combining function and lively visual displays included Pat Steir’s freestanding screen, Roy De Forest tote bags, Italo Scanga ’s napkins, and Harry Anderson’s fabric covered chairs. Other artists and designers in the exhibition were James Carpenter, The Reverend Howard Finster, Tina Girouard, Roy Lichtenstein, Juanita Mizuno, Ned Smyth, and Will Stokes.

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

Ingenious Fabrications is supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design’s College of Architecture, Art and Urban Planning.

This exhibition is also funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Fabric

Ingenious Fabrications: Recent Projects from The Fabric Workshop

Essays by Laurel Bradley and Marion Stroud Swingle
Gallery 400, School of Art and Design,
University of Illinois at Chicago, 1985
6 pp., 11.5 x 8.5 in., with black and white reproductions

This catalogue can be purchased for $XX.00 plus shipping by calling Gallery 400 at 312 996 6114.

PRESS RELEASE

Ingenious Fabrications: Recent Projects from the Fabric Workshop
Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
October 30–November 27, 1985

Opening Reception Costume Party: Halloween Eve, October 30, 1985, 4-6 pm

Artists Included:

James Carpenter
Tony Costanzo
Roy De Forest
Richard DeVore
The Reverend Howard Finster
Tina Girouard
Rebecca Howland
Steven Keister
Roy Lichtenstein
Robert Morris
Joseph Nechvatal
Louise Nevelson
Italo Scanga
Pat Steir
Anita Thacker
Robert Venturi
Betty Woodman
Claire Zeister
Harry Anderson
Juanita Mizuno
Ned Smyth
Will Stokes

Ingenious Fabrications presents approximately 30 practical and conceptual works incorporating silk-screened fabric designed by artists, craftspeople and architects at the Fabric Workshop based in Philadelphia. The Gallery 400 exhibition highlights diverse projects ranging from the practical to the purely decorative to provocative political commentaries. The lively installation features a large dining tent, doorways, wall-coverings, draped fabric and imaginative lamps with anthropomorphic overtones by Philadelphia artist Harry Anderson.

Among garments are sculptor Louise Nevelson’s Opera Chorus Robe and Chicago fiber artist Claire Zeisler’s body suit and robe. Table cloths, napkins, and canvas chair covers are other formats adopted by Fabric Workshop guest artists and architects. Viewers may recognise architect Robert Venturi’s Notebook and Grandmother patterns from Swid Powell dinnerware and Knoll furniture. The wildly fertile creativity of California sculptor Italo Scanga is fully evident in his Animal napkins.

Robert Morris and Rebecca Howland prove that functional formats can raise public consciousness about the pressing issues of our times. Morris, with Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud, presents a rather disturbing bed to lie in. Rebecca Howland’s Toxicological Table Setting, with acrid-colored ceramics topping an illustrated tablecloth, direct the social critique toward toxic waste problems.

Objects combining function and lively visual displays include Pat Steir’s free-standing screen, Roy de Forest tote bags and Harry Anderson’s fabric covered chairs. Other artists and designers in the exhibition are James Carpenter, Tony Costanzo, The Reverend Howard Finster, Tina Girouard, Steven Keister, Roy Lichtenstein, Juanita Mizuno, Joseph Nechvatal, Ned Smyth, Will Stokes and Betty Woodman.

The Fabric Workship, founded in 1977, is a unique operation which invites both nationally known and emerging artists and architects to work with master printers in a new medium–silk-screened fabric. The workshop’s aim–to promote the marriage of art and function–has particular relevance in the mid-1980’s, when “artists furniture” and architect designed objects are in the limelight. The Gallery 400 Ingenious Fabrications is the first exhibition in Chicago to present projects from the last five years.

This exhibition is supported by grants from The National Endowment for the Arts.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Harry Anderson

Big Stick Man, 1985
Brass tubing, found bulbs, 66 x 40 in.

Erector Lamp, 1985
Assembled erector set elements, blown glass, 22 x 8 in.

Harry’s Plaid, 1985
Silkscreen on cotton yardage, 47 1/2 in.

Hose Man, 1985
Garden Hose, purchased bulbs, 48 x 48 in.

Tripod, 1985
Copper tubing, brass fittings, blown glass, 50 x 24 in.

Untitled

Sling-back chairs covered in Harry’s Plaid, silkscreen on cotton canvas, wood, 38 x 22 1/2 x 37 in.

Wand Lamp, 1985
Commerical fittings, spray painted surface, 23 x 29 x 29 in.

“X” Lamp, 1985
Garden hose, brass tubing, metal base, blown glass, commercial hardware fittings, 65 x 15 in.

James Carpenter

The Toshiko, 1981
Silkscreen on cotton muslin, various sizes.

Tony Costanzo

Untitled, 1980
Trompe l’oiel fabric, silkscreen on cotton sateen, 54 in.

Roy De Forest

Dog St. George (pink version)

Silscreen on cotton, 58 x 42 in.

Gridley Totebag,
1984
Silkscreen on cotton canvas, 21 1/2 x 32 x 9 in.

The Reverend Howard Finster

The Road to Eternity, 1984
Silkscreen o cotton, 36 x 36 in.

Untitled, (2 patterns), 1984
Napkins, silkscreen on cotton, each 21 in.

Tina Girouard

Backwoods Boogie-Woogie, 1984
Stretched fabric panels, silkscreen on cotton, each 22 x 60 in.
Designed by Tina Girouard for Arc International
Handprinted at the Fabric Workshop

Rebecca Howland

Toxicological Tabletop, 1985
Silkscreen on linen, with ceramics, to cover 48 in. square table.

Steven Keister

Wallpaper Designs, 1981
Silkscreen on cotton canvas, 54 in.

Roy Lichtenstein

Shirt, 1979
Silkscreen on silk satin, 31 1/2 x 34 in.
Printed for Artists Space, New York

Juanita Mizuno

Dining Tent, 1984
Silkscreen on cotton canvas, aluminum poles and fittings, sizes vary.

Robert Morris

Restless Sleepers/ Atomic Shroud, 1981
Silkscreen on two double bed sheets, 2 pillow cases, 81 x 108 in.

Joseph Nechvatal

Prototype Yardage for XS, 1985
Silkscreen on cotton muslin, hand painted, 44 1/4 in.
Opera/opus conceived in collaboration with Rhys Chatham
To be performed at the Boston Opera House, April 1986.

Louise Nevelson

Opera Chorus Robe, 1984
Silkscreen on bleached cotton sateen, 66 x 68 1/2 in.
For St. Louis Opera Theater production of Gluck’s Orfeo and Eurydice.

Italo Scanga

Animals, 1981
Four napkins, silkscreen on cotton, 23 inches square.

Ned Smyth

Philadelphia Pattern Palm (Arcade), 1979
Silkscreen on cotton sateen backed with acetate, each 108 x 46 in.

Pat Steir

Folding Screen, 1983
Silkscreen on linen, wood, 3 panels, each 80 x 63 1/2 in.

Will Stokes

Dress, 1981
Silkscreen on cotton, 45 1/2 x 35 1/2 in.

Hidden Tote Bag, 1978
Silkscreen on cotton canvas, 19 5/8 x 21 1/8 x 6 1/4 in.

Jungle Fabric, 1980
Silkscreen on cotton, 54 in.

Stuffed Animals

Silkscreen on cotton, assorted sizes.

Robert Venturi

Grandmother Napkins, 1982
Silkscreen on cotton sateen, 18 in.

Grandmother Yardage, 1982
Silkscreen on cotton sateen, 50 in.

Notebook Napkins, 1982
Silkscreen on cotton sateen, 18 in.

Notebook Yardage, 1982
Silkscreen on cotton sateen, 50 in.

Betty Woodman

Turandot Doorway, 1980
Silkscreen on cotton canvas and cotton sateen, 91 x 92 1/2 in.

Claire Zeisler

Body Suit, 1980
Silkscreen on nylon and lycra spandex, 38 x 16 in.

Robe, 1980
Silkscreen on hand-dyed rayon, 46 x 24 in.

PRINT COLLATERAL

Postcard: Ingenious Fabrications: Opening Reception