The Textile Museum timed its new exhibition to coincide with Earth Day on Friday. “Green: The Color and the Cause” features garments and textiles from the museum’s permanent collection alongside 32 contemporary green artworks.
The exhibition presents green-tinted fabrics that span 1,700 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 than 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 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 dyeing the paper shades of yellow, green and blue. Cohen worked for three days to install the work at the Textile Museum. It was 60 feet long when it was first shown at the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, N.J., in 2007.
Shigeo Kubota of Kyoto, Japan, developed his installation from fishing line. Born into a family of weavers, he began to create 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 more than eight feet tall.
“Green: The Color and the Cause” 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 catalogue for visitors to learn more about the exhibition.
runs until Sept. 11 at the Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW. Visit www.textilemuseum.org or call 202-667-0441.