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What’s New: Fashion and Contemporary Craft

September 07, 2013 - January 19, 2014


Fashion and Contemporary Craft

Wonder what a Cannabis Smoking Coat by Cincinnati native and New York designer John Bartlett looks like? A pair of 21st century Fang Shoes by Iris Van Herpen? How about a collection of turned wood? Cynthia Amnéus, the curator who brought you Wedded Perfection and Art Deco: Fashion and Design in the Jazz Age and Amy Dehan, curator of Art of Sound: Four Centuries of Musical Instruments, have come together to showcase “what’s new” in fashion and contemporary craft. This exhibition will showcase over twenty recent additions to the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection in the areas of fashion and craft, all created since 1950.

Our curators are continually on the lookout for objects of the highest quality and impact that build on our current collection or take it in a new direction These works, all created since 1950, will be paired to highlight shared affinities that document the diverse trends, ideas, events and characters of our time. With many new acquisitions to choose from, Amnéus and Dehan organized this exhibition around three dimensional objects that relate to each other in terms of form, pattern, dimension, movement, and texture.

Cynthia Amnéus, Fashion Arts and Textiles curator says, “One of the major facets of a curator’s job is to acquire art for the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection. While we are certainly interested in historic objects, we are also on the lookout for cutting edge pieces that represent what is happening in our fields today. As curators, we are trained to have a discerning eye to identify contemporary objects that will be treasured by future generations of museum visitors. While the works selected for this show are intrinsically very diverse, their affinities illuminate particular shared areas of interest and exploration important to artists working today,” adds Amy Dehan, Decorative Arts and Design curator.

You will never think about wood and clay in the same way again. In this exhibition, you will see works in which artists have challenged the limits of these media and taken them to a new, thought-provoking level. Several of these works come from the gift of over two hundred works donated to the Cincinnati Art Museum by Cincinnatians Nancy and David Wolf. Visitors fell in love with the Wolf’s collection when selections from it were featured in the exhibition Outside the Ordinary, curated by Dehan in 2009, and they will surely find new favorites in this exhibition. Ron Fleming’s Keep Sake features ruffled petals made from buckeye burl and Mark Lindquist has created stiff, dress-maker pleats in maple burl using a chainsaw. In ceramics, you will experience the ethereal magic of Rudy Staffel’s Light Gatherers—created by pushing, pulling, stretching and pinching the delicate medium of porcelain, and you’ll discover the biting immediacy of Michelle Erickson’s work. Erickson researches and reproduces lost ceramic techniques. When she is not creating replicas of historic ceramics for Hollywood movie sets and history buffs, she employs these techniques to create edgy, contemporary works.

From Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen’s Fang Shoes to Yoshiki Hishinuma’s Laminated Dress, the fashion pieces in this show will change how you think of what we wear. Van Herpen is a fresh face who is making waves with her futuristic garments that combine meticulous handwork, unusual materials, and innovative techniques. Equally ground-breaking is the work of Japanese designer Hishinuma and his mentor Issey Miyake. Their featured pieces are created from pleated and laminated fabrics they designed themselves. Visitors will also delight in seeing a wide variety of fashion by contemporary designers, including footwear by Zaha Hadid, designer of Cincinnati’s Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art. Hadid’s spiraling boots have a textured surface inspired by the Lacoste crocodile.



Image: Iris van Herpen (Dutch, b.1984), United Nude (estab. 2003), Fang Shoes, 2012, pony fur, fiberglass and carbon fiber, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Dianne Dunkelman and Friends of Fashion, 2012.89 a-b