Dramatic Show Of Modern Fabric Designs By Jack Lenor Larsen Opens June 15 At American Textile History Museum

“We started out as revolutionaries, wanting only to make brave new designs for a contemporary society.
— Jack Lenor Larsen

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Lois Frankenberger, publicist

Jack Lenor Larsen: The Company and the Cloth

DATES: June 15 through July 28, 2002
PLACE: American Textile History Museum, 491 Dutton St., Lowell, Mass.,
ADMISSION: Free with general Museum admission: $8 adults; $6 students and seniors;
free for Museum members and children under 6. Free parking
CALL: 978-441-0400 for exhibit and related events information.
WEBSITE: www.athm.org

Samarkand, Larsen Design Studio, screen printed cotton.

Samarkand, Larsen Design Studio,
screen printed cotton. Collection of The Minneapolis Institute of Art

LOWELL, Mass. – The first major exhibition in New England from the company archive of Jack Lenor Larsen, long considered to be the dean of modern fabric design, will open at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell on June 15, 2002.

The exhibit, Jack Lenor Larsen: The Company and the Cloth, celebrates the genius of the man and the contribution of his company to twentieth-century design. It tells the story of creative design and production of high-end textiles from the 1950s to the present. The show features over 100 beautifully crafted fabrics reflecting Larsen’s talent for incorporating both the newest and the oldest techniques.

The installation is divided into three main areas that concentrate on various aspects of the Larsen design phenomenon and the internationally renowned company: the studio, the showrooms, and the clients. Visitors can explore the world of Larsen textile design and manufacture through fabric displays, graphics, touchable fabric samples, and an interactive computer program.

According to Lotus Stack, curator of textiles at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and curator of this special exhibition, the archive was given to the Institute in 1999 by Cowtan & Tout after they acquired Larsen Design Studio. Stack said “the archive documents the extraordinary aesthetic diversity of Larsen fabrics and offers us an insight into the variety of textile production methods, from traditional handweaving to the most sophisticated technology.”

Larsen himself is a Fellow and President Emeritus of the American Craft Council and Fellow and Honorary Royal Designer for Industry of the Royal Society of Art. He is also a Gold Medalist with the American Institute of Architects. In 1992 Larsen established the LongHouse Foundation to showcase remarkable collections of crafts, sculpture, textiles, and other works of art, and to encourage creativity in landscape design and the arts.

Jack Lenor Larsen: The Company and the Cloth
 was organized by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Exhibition support has been generously provided by Merida Meridian, Inc. The exhibit will continue at the Museum through July 28, 2002. An exhibition catalog will be available.

Special programs relating to the exhibition will feature children’s activities in the Textile Learning Center, as well as lectures and workshops for adults where refreshments will be served. Program support has been provided by the Lowell Institute, Boston, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Program highlights include:

Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m. Tapestry Weaving at Tasara Centre for Creative Weaving. Amanda Barrow, named 2001 Boston Emerging Artist Fellow by the Boston Cultural Council, will present slides and show examples of the tapestries she wove in 1992 during her tenure as a Fulbright research scholar in Kerala, South India.

Sunday, June 30, 2 p.m. Framed with Woven Borders. Norma Smayda founder of the Saunderstown Weaving School of Rhode Island and former president of the Handweavers Guild of America will present a lecture on “framing” hand-woven work by giving it edges to contain it and isolate it from its background.

Sunday, July 14, 2 p.m. Textiles, the Past Fifty Years. Nell Znamierowski, Fulbright Scholar, curator, exhibitor, and retired professor of woven design from the Fashion
Institute of Technology in New York City, will present a slide lecture on the history of woven textiles. Her slides will include some of the work of Jack Lenor Larsen.

The American Textile History Museum is home to an unparalleled collection of textiles and decorative arts, tools, machinery and workplace artifacts relating to American textile history from the 1700s to the present. Founded by the Stevens family, the Museum opened in 1960 in North Andover, Massachusetts, and re-opened in Lowell in 1997 to better serve the public. The Lowell facility is an 1860 textile machine factory renovated by the Museum. Public attractions include the Textiles in America ongoing exhibition where fabric is woven on vintage looms for the Museum’s heirLOOMS™ collection of products, the Special Exhibition Gallery, the Textile Learning Center, and the Seasoned Chef Gazebo Cafe. The Museum also supports the interests of visitors, collectors, and researchers by appointment with a function facilities program, the Museum Collections, the Textile Conservation Center, the Osborne Library, and the Webster Education Center. The Museum receives funding for its programs from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Museum is located at 491 Dutton Street adjacent to Lowell’s National Historical Park. Take Route I-495 North or South to the Lowell Connector (exit 35C). Take exit 5B to Thorndike Street. Go through four sets of traffic lights, and turn left into the Museum parking lot. The building is wheelchair accessible. For information, call 978.441.0400.

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