Online Launch: Fall 2020. This exhibition explores themes of materiality, process and international collaboration. In 2019, University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor Marianne Fairbanks and textile artist Sofia Hagström Møller invited a group of professional Danish weavers to contribute pieces produced on Fairbanks’s hand-held Hello Looms for a show at Copenhagen Contemporary. The resulting 37 weavings use a wide variety of materials and explore a multitude of compositions.
Online Launch: Fall 2020. Since March of 2020 face masks have become our central tool in the fight against COVID-19. This exhibition seeks to understand the new ways in which textiles play a critical role in our daily lives as protective face coverings. To do so, it uses a “rapid response” collecting model to select masks for the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection which mark this contemporary moment as historic.
Online Launch: Fall 2020. This exhibition of Danish fiber artist Sofia Hagström Møller’s work investigates the roots of Scandinavian textile design and celebrates the legacy that American weaving owes to these traditions. By translating her grandmother’s patterns through the digital technology available to her during a recent residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hagström Møller’s work transcends language and travels through time and space.
Intended to be Installed in Gallery: April 29, 2020 – June 7, 2020. Online Launch: Summer 2020. In this exhibition, artist Sonja Bäumel, collaborating with Helen Blackwell of the UW–Madison Department of Chemistry, explores the perception of what bodies are made of through microbes and the body’s surface. Bäumel reimagines skin as a fictional layer of communication, a multi-being landscape linked to the discovery of the human microbiome, which established the body as a walking biotope. Through the works in this exhibition, Bäumel examines how scientific knowledge has influenced the way we have perceived and interpreted the human body historically, and how this impacts our current society and the cultural contexts in which we act.
Installed in Gallery: February 26, 2020 – April 5, 2020. Online Launch: Summer 2020. This exhibition showcases the work of art and design faculty from across the country to address the issue of how art and design express cultural integration and creativity. The Chinese-American Art Faculty Association (CAAFA) is a national organization with over 130 members representing art and design in the U.S. and China. This iteration of the CAAFA’s biennial exhibition represents the first time the association has exhibited in the Midwest and draws from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s focus on diversity, inclusion, and creativity.
Installed in Gallery: February 5 – April 3, 2020. Online Launch: Summer 2020. This exhibition seeks to humanize the word “refugee.” This multimedia exhibit features the sculptures of Mohamad Hafez, a Syrian-born, Connecticut-based artist and architect who re-creates war-torn domestic interiors within suitcases. Pieces from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection were placed in dialogue with UNPACKED, providing a unique opportunity to reinterpret the School of Human Ecology holdings.
Installed in Gallery: September 5 – December 6, 2019. Online Launch: Summer 2020. From the Andes to the Great Lakes, textiles reflect cultural narratives of community and tradition. This exhibit analyzes select textiles from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and the Little Eagle Arts Foundation, a Ho-Chunk arts organization, to provide a deeper understanding of the lifeways, movement, and stories of these objects. It is through these intersections that scholars may trace Native cultural practices and oral traditions throughout the western hemisphere.