Don’t Weave Me

The Bass tacks up tapestries of the masters

Like Rumpelstiltskin, the wily dwarf in the Grimm brothers’ fairytale, Jean Lurçat had a knack for spinning straw into gold. When wheedled by Picasso in the Fifties as to why he was weaving his pictures in wool, Lurçat, the leading revivalist of tapestries among his contemporaries, chided the old Spanish goat by telling him: “One fiber of my wool is a thousand times more precious than a piece of your paper.”

Lurçat’s smackdown challenged Picasso and other artists of the period to tackle the loom and transform their own compositions into monumental wall hangings. “Tapestries: The Greatest Twentieth Century Modernists,” opening today at the Bass Museum of Art, features dazzling jewel-hued works by Calder and Kandinsky, the bold figural architectonics of Léger and Le Corbusier, the cutouts of Matisse, and Picasso’s squirrelly Cubism. This fantastic collection of about twenty handmade works offers a fresh perspective on twentieth-century Modernism and its intriguing relationship to the time-honored tradition of weaving. The exhibit was curated by Dirk Holger, who was a student of the Tapestry School in Aubusson and an assistant to Jean Lurçat in the Sixties. He has lectured extensively about medieval and modern tapestries at the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among other spots, earning the weave-master props as the grand poobah of tapestry. The exhibit runs through October 8.

The Bass maintains its record clip during the summer, opening “Made in Miami: Hervé di Rosa's Around the World 12th Stage,” marking the Frenchman’s first museum show in the United States. In this series of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Di Rosa explores pawn shops, bodegas, fast-food chains, the INS building, botanicas, and quirky motels, emphasizing the brilliant color and light of the South Florida landscape as part of his ongoing odyssey. On view through October 29.
Fri., Aug. 11
 
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