The team at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts is always looking to educate the public about the history and cultural importance of quilts and fiber arts—from the unique exhibits down to quilt-patterned doors on the repurposed 1850s-era farmhouse.
The museum aims to produce four original exhibitions a year, and from August through November, “Water” will be a unified display of contemporary artists’ work inspired by the expressive possibilities of water—and a nod to the region’s plentiful freshwater.
“‘Water’ aims to draw attention to this valuable, yet vulnerable, resource through the lens of fiber and video works, sculptures and installations. The exhibition includes top nationally recognized fiber artists—three of whom have works in the Smithsonian’s collection—and many have made new works for the show,” says exhibit curator Emily Schlemowitz.
As the team curates exhibits, Schlemowitz says they’re always cognizant of design, how the viewer will experience the works and how the information is being communicated.
“We start from the place that exhibitions should spark curiosity and dialogue,” she says.
“Sometimes we achieve that by curating a solo exhibition of a particularly phenomenal artist, as we will be doing with Doreen Speckmann, who has never had a retrospective despite being nationally recognized for her quilting innovations. Sometimes we achieve that by curating by theme, as we are doing for ‘Water.”’
The museum recently received a grant to renovate the atrium, and it will become part of the permanent exhibitions.
“During ‘Water,’ we will have several carp—made specifically for the exhibition by Akiko Ike, a fiber artist from Japan—hanging from the atrium’s ceiling. We will also be installing our first permanent outdoor sculpture by Susan Falkman, a sculptor who made a marble quilt inspired by the flow of water and the softness of fabric,” Schlemowitz says.
Top photo: Jennifer Davies, Medusa, 2014; pigmented kozo fabric; 78 x 27 x 2 in.
Photo by Jennifer Davies
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