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"Structure and Surface: Contemporary"
1999-12-11 until 2000-02-20
Akron Art Museum
Akron, OH, USA United States of America

Structure and Surface: Contemporary Japanese Textiles is an exhibition of subtle and spectacular beauty. It surveys the ingenious fusion of ancient aesthetics and modern technologies that have made Japan the recognized leader in avant-garde fashion and textile design. Structure and Surface brings together over 100 exotic works by Japans greatest artists and designers, focusing especially on fabrics that use creative post-industrial technology and chemistry. The exhibition is organized into six groups or themes according to the textiles predominant characteristics: Transparent, Dyed, Reflective, Printed, Sculpted and Layered.

Some works, such as those by Junichi Arai, speak eloquently to multiple themes. Arai has developed complex weaving and finishing processes that give his textiles unexpected sculptural effects. One of his revolutionary fabrics, Yuragi (Fluctuation), is woven from stainless steel filaments that become supple and richly colored through treatment with chemical and heat processes.

Reiko Sudo is equally inventive. She employs a wide range of cutting-edge technologies to produce innovative tactile and surface effects. The beautifully abstract patterns of Scattered Rubber Bands, for instance, are created by coating rubber bands with acrylic and silicone and then bonding them to linen.

Structure and Surface is supplemented by special displays to enhance the understanding of Japanese textiles. These include garments by Issey Miyake, an elegant catalogue and two extraordinary documentary films. Throughout the exhibition, touch samples allow visitors to experience the tactile as well as visual qualities of these stunning textiles. Structure and Surface demonstrates how textile artists in Japan are combining traditional craft and futuristic technology to create dazzling works of art.

Only a handful of photographers at the turn of the century recognized the modern city as a worthy subject for art photography; Coburn was one of them. Around 1912, he began to make modernist, rather than pictorialist, images of the city, exchanging soft focus for sharp, clear images and experimenting with abstract compositional geometry. Photographing the Grand Canyon in 1911 led Coburn to investigate the view from above, which he then applied to New Yorks manmade canyons. His aerial views were made at least six years before the German and Russian photographers usually credited with this innovation.

This exhibition was organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in collaboration with the Saint Louis Art Museum, and is made possible by AT&T and the Contemporary Exhibition Fund of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional support has been provided by Toray Industries, Inc., Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., the Pola Art Foundation, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., S.G.F. Associates Inc. and Urase Company, Ltd. The accompanying publication is made possible by the Japan Foundation. The web site was made possible by Emily Rauh Pulitzer and IIJ America, Inc. Presentation in Akron is made possible by Ohio Arts Council, OMNOVA Solutions, Madeline and Jim Berlin, Rory and Dedee ONeil and The Mirapaul Foundation. Media Sponsorship provided by PBS 45/49.

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