Last week, the Textile Museum debuted a new exhibition to coincide with Earth Day. “Green: The Color and the Cause” features garments and textiles from the Museum’s permanent collection alongside 32 contemporary green artworks. The exhibition showcases green-tinted fabrics that span 1700 years of history. The permanent collection, which includes well-preserved 19th century embroidered tunics from China and 16th century Persian silk fragments, is showcased alongside artworks that display “the meaning of green.”
To assemble the exhibit, the Textile Museum issued a call for contemporary fiber artists and received more that 1,000 submissions by 300 artists. The curators selected 32 works, representing six continents. Most of the contemporary works incorporated sustainable materials into their artworks, such as recycled tires, waxed linen thread or electrical wire.
Two artists were in town for the exhibition’s debut on April 16. “I’m excited to have a platform to talk about green as a color and concept,” said artist Nancy Cohen, whose site-specific installation “Estuary: Moods and Modes” replicates the ecosystem of Northern New Jersey with handmade abaca paper. Cohen who learned the art of making paper 18 years ago, chose the medium for its malleability and translucence. It took six months to make the paper, crafted from the fibers of marsh grasses, and involved a lengthy process of dying paper shades of yellow, green and blue. Cohen worked for three days to install the work at the Textile Museum, which was originally 60 feet long when it first debuted at the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, New Jersey, in 2007.
Shigeo Kubota of Kyoto, Japan, developed his installation from fishing line. Born into a family of weavers, he began to weave massive sculptures from fishing line only a few years ago. His work “Shape of Green II” is made of nylon and sisal, and shaped “like a rocket to symbolize futuristic brightness,” said Kubota. It took two months to weave the work, which stands over 8 feet tall.
“Green: the Color and the Cause” runs until September 2011. The exhibition coincides with the Textile Museum’s “Second Lives: the Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles,” on until 2012. The museum also launched a paperless web catalog for visitors to learn more about the exhibition.