Exhibitions

Online Exhibitions

Coming Together: Culturally Inspired Creation

graphic with four textiles boardering a central image with text that reads "Coming Together: Culturally Inspired CreationThis exhibition is a collaboration between traditional textile artisan designers in the Kutch district in northwest India and students at the UW–Madison. Together, students learn textile traditions from India through their artisan designer partners and objects in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Choosing an object in the Collection as inspiration, students and artisan collaborators co-designed scarves for the contemporary market. These final works, along with their inspiration object from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, will be on view in celebration of the language of tradition, collaboration, and hand work in textile design.

This exhibition took place in the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery April 20 – May 27, 2022.

Intercambios: Art, Stories, & Comunidad

graphic for the exhibition Intercambios, Art, Stories, & Comunidad with the title in the foreground and blue, red, yellow, orange, tan, and pink fibers in the backgroundIntercambios: Art, Stories, & Comunidad is a fully bilingual exhibition.

Intercambios: Arte, Historias y Comunidad presenta trabajos colaborativos de artistas en Madison, Wisconsin y Oaxaca, México. Con pintura, textiles vibrantes, fotografía, música y videos, los artistas exploran visualmente las intersecciones entre culturas, disciplinas, conceptos de arte, sistemas de creencias y comunidad.

Intercambios: Art, Stories, & Comunidad presents collaborative works from artists in Madison, Wisconsin, and Oaxaca, Mexico. Featuring painting, vibrant textiles, photography, printmaking, music, and video, the artists visually explore intersections of cultures, disciplines, concepts of art, belief systems, and community.

This exhibition took place in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery  January 26 – April 10, 2022

Sofia Hagström Møller: Lineage

graphic of the exhibition Sofia Hagström Møller: Lineage in pink read and orange with white in the foreground and woven fibers in the backgroundSofia Hagström Møller: Lineage investigates the roots of Scandinavian textile design and celebrates the legacy that American weaving shares with these traditions. By translating her grandmother’s patterns through the digital technology available to her during a 2019 residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hagström Møller’s work transcends language and travels through time and space. Since the residency, her collaborative work with UW-Madison Professor Marianne Fairbanks has continued to play with these ideas, discovering even more of the richness that’s possible when you follow your curiosity from inspiration to creation to education and beyond.

This exhibition took place in the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery  January 26 – April 3, 2022.

Malkha | Madison

woman in a darkened room wearing a white cotton kurta
Saravanakumar/Ecotone

The Malkha | Madison project seeks to deepen our understanding of the value of artisan production in the contemporary post-industrial world. Indian artisan cotton textile production is a field that links the pre-industrial past to the post-industrial future. In keeping with the CDMC’s three pillars—the study of textiles, design thinking, and material culture—we hope to convey the vibrancy of the field by sharing the vision, process, and material culture of Malkha, a South India-based textiles commons. One person at a time, Malkha is rebuilding links among farmers, weavers, designers, and consumers to imagine a future for a cotton textile that is “democratic, equitable, sustainable, and restorative.” New sections of this online exhibition will be launched periodically; check back for additions.

The Portal: A Step into the Past

graphic logo for the exhibition that includes a swirling blue door and the title The Center for Design and Material Culture and the Design Studies Department present The Portal: A Step into the Past, a juried online exhibition featuring student-designed historic interiors. The virtual installation will be juried by Shana McCaw, Brent Budsberg, and Jonathan Prown and will showcase selected period rooms designed by students of the course “DS 422: History of Architecture.” The projects will represent a wide range of design styles and a variety of software and media.

Design 2021: Annual Juried Student Exhibition

Logo for the Design 2021 exhibition featuring cascading paint chipsThe Center for Design and Material Culture and the Design Studies Department present Design 2021, a virtual edition of SoHE’s annual juried student exhibition. UW–Madison students of all majors were invited to submit their best design work generated through Design Studies courses over the past four semesters for consideration. Work is being juried by two design industry judges (textile and fashion designer Mary Jaeger and interior designer Maya Mockert).

2021 Design Studies Second Year MFA Exhibition: Henry Obeng and Nora Renick Rinehart

dark blue cyanotype image of a plant on red-pink paper.Featuring handmade paper and quilted flannel, Design Studies MFA students Henry Obeng and Nora Renick Rinehart present new works for the Design Studies Second Year MFA Exhibition. Obeng’s exhibit The Trail builds connections between his experiences as a surveilled non-citizen and plant specimens in the UW Herbarium through hundreds of cyanotype images presented on handmade paper using pulp produced from recycled Wisconsin Badger cotton T-shirts. Rinehart’s exhibit Flannel Futures features textile and printmaking work that operate within the fields of queer abstraction and queer futurism to explore the reflections and refractions between the past, present and future. By combining traditional quilting techniques with the language of queer fashion, the works engage the contradiction between the mundanity of the iconic lesbian flannel shirt and the gay bravado of fringe and piping.

2021 Design Studies Master in Fine Arts Exhibition: Amanda Thatch and Han-ah Yoo

installation image of hung textiles and projections on a mannequinIn the culmination of three years of intensive work, Design Studies MFA candidates Amanda Thatch and Han-ah Yoo present their thesis work in two exhibitions. “Tromp as Writ,” Thatch’s body of work, explores the interaction of text and pattern through hand-woven images derived from observations while walking, an activity the artist found solace in during the pandemic. Yoo’s “Relationships: Invisible, but Extant” brings together expressive textile and video artworks, inspired by nature and the body, that are designed to provoke awareness of the adverse ecological impacts of the fashion industry.

Woven Together: Hello Loom at Copenhagen Contemporary

Photograph of a miniature wooden hand-held loom with words

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.

Rapid Response Mask Collecting Project

Color photograph of a face mask mounted on a glass head form. Mask is made of a olive green cloth material with printed pink two-fingered hand designs with the words “one of us” also appearing in pink text inside the hand shapes.

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.

Sofia Hagström Møller: Weaving Threads Through Time and Space

Color photograph for exhibition

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.

What Would a Microbe Say?

crocheted versions of hands, arms, legs, and feet on a backlit light board. 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.

Harmony and Evolution: An Exhibition of the Chinese American Art Faculty Association

crop of  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.

UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage

Image of a sculpture of a miniature bombed interior installed inside a suitcase.

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.

Intersections: Indigenous Textiles of the Americas

Promo image for 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.