Weaving Beyond the Bauhaus on view at the Art Institute of Chicago

Lenore Tawney, The Bride Has Entered, 1982.

Established in 1919, acclaimed German art school the Bauhaus was home to an innovative weaving workshop whose influence stretched across the Atlantic.

Like the larger institution, the weaving workshop embraced the principal of equality among artists and the arts alike. Although the realities of the Bauhaus never quite matched its utopian vision, the workshop nonetheless served as an effective incubator of aesthetic and pedagogical talent. In the decades following the school’s forced closure in 1933, the Bauhaus went on to have a wide-reaching impact on American art—due in part to the large number of affiliated artists who immigrated to the US, where they continued to practice and teach in the spirit of the school’s educational system and theories.Weaving beyond the Bauhaus (on view through February 17, 2020)  traces the diffusion of Bauhaus artists, or Bauhäusler, such as Anni Albers and Marli Ehrman, and their reciprocal relationships with fellow artists and students across America. Through their ties to arts education institutions, including Black Mountain College, the Institute of Design, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Yale University, these artists shared their knowledge and experiences with contemporary and successive generations of artists, including Sheila Hicks, Else Regensteiner, Ethel Stein, Lenore Tawney, and Claire Zeisler, shaping the landscape of American art in the process.

Lenore Tawney at the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Process and Practice: 40 Years of Experimentation celebrates the Fabric Workshop and Museum’s rich history of innovation through an unprecedented look inside the FWM’s Artists-in-Residence Program. Artist Boxes bursting with notes, sketches, tests, prototypes and ephemera by 84 of the nearly 400 Artists-in-Residence are currently on view, along with many of the finished works produced during the residencies.

Lenore Tawney was an Artist-in-Residence in 1982, early in this history, and the exhibition includes both her Artist Box and completed Cloud Garment and Ear Pillow. These pieces occupy a unique place in Tawney’s work. In 1982, she had just completed the installation of her second architectural commission, Cloud VI, in Cleveland, Ohio. She had also been creating her own unique garments for years. These two aspects of Tawney’s practice coalesce in Cloud Garment, a conceptual piece that evokes the feeling of wrapping oneself in a cloud.

Lenore Tawney with Cloud Garment, Fabric Workshop, 1982

With Process and Practice, the FWM offers a unique view of the creative process and of its own singular history. The exhibition remains on view through March 25, 2018.

Lenore Tawney’s Artist Box, Cloud Garment, and Ear Pillow in Process and Practice: 40 Years of Experimentation at the Fabric Workshop and Museum