In the past week, I’ve worked on at least seven different exhibitions. One day I had so many phone calls and e-mails that I had a hard time remembering which show I was talking or writing about. With two special exhibition galleries now instead of one, it’s a little hectic. But it’s a good sort of hectic. We’ve got a lot of different ideas in the works for you.
For Changing Landscapes, one of the current shows, I was finalizing travel arrangements with Deborah Corsini, the curator at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. She’ll be here with us in the gallery on February 28th to talk about how the show came to be and what the fiber art scene in China is like. It’s been a pleasure for us to show this exhibition, especially because it’s the first-ever show of contemporary Chinese fiber art in the United States.
For a while, I played e-mail and phone tag with a reviewer about the Aprons exhibit, eventually providing him with information and photos that should appear soon in ArtScope magazine. Let’s hope he liked the show as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
Talk about hectic! We had about fifty students here from Lynne Blake’s Accessories Design class at Lasell College on February 4th. Each student had looked at pictures of all our hats online in our Chace Catalogue (available at http://www.athm.org/online_catalogue.htm) and chose one they thought they might like to use as design inspiration for a hat they’d create. At the Museum, they got to see their hats in person and examine them closely. Some were happy with their choices, and others just had to make a change—because things always look different “in the flesh” than in pictures. We’re now working out the details for judging, which will determine which hats are shown in the gallery in Inspired Design beginning this May. It was a very exciting day.
In between students and reporters, we’ve been negotiating the terms to bring a collection of haute couture to ATHM in the fall. We haven’t dotted every ‘i’ or crossed all the ‘t’s, so I can’t say more about it yet, but we think it will be a beautiful and fascinating exhibition. And, we’re also working on an exhibition that will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. It’s still in the planning stage, but the guest curators have already found textiles with absolutely fabulous stories —like the quilt a southern family used to wrap the silver they buried to hide their family treasures from General Sherman’s troops. We’ll see that exhibition in 2012.
But back to the present. Right now, we’re figuring out logistics and mounting details for More Than a Number, which opens April 17th. That’s more challenging than you might think. This time, one of the elements in the show is colorful dance costume from Lowell’s Angkor Dance Troupe. Parts of the costume are tightly wrapped around the dancers’ bodies. That works best with real people wearing them, but it’s not really a practical answer for us. We’re used to dressing forms and mannequins, but this time, we can’t use torso forms since we need solid legs, and mannequins can’t assume a dance pose. So, we’re working on that one. You’ll have to come visit the Museum while More Than a Number is on view to see our solution. And, keep your eye on the blog for updates on some of our future exhibitions.
Diane Fagan Affleck
Director of Interpretation