Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Cardoso Flea Circus, 1996. Acrylic and oil on canvas, hand silkscreen on nylon taffeta, various fabrics, steel, brass, video, various props and fleas. 96 x 116 inches in diameter.
Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Cardoso Flea Circus, 1996. Acrylic and oil on canvas, hand silkscreen on nylon taffeta, various fabrics, steel, brass, video, various props and fleas. 96 x 116 inches in diameter.

Threads of History: The Fabric Workshop and Museum 1977–2008

December 12, 2008–April 2009

Celebrating over thirty years of prodigious, collaborative experimentation with artists, new materials, and new methods, starting December 12th in its newly opened first and second floor galleries at 1214 Arch Street, adjacent to the PA Convention Center and the Reading Terminal Market, The Fabric Workshop and Museum presents a survey of over one hundred works produced by past artists-in-residence. The scope of past and recent projects encompasses everything from fabric yardage to large art installations and the show brings together groupings of artists' multiples, wall hangings, lamps, shirts, pants, scarves, hand bags and satchels, and even umbrellas. Guest Curator Patterson Sims, Director of the Montclair Art Museum, has selected a broad spectrum of innovation and creativity that documents the Workshop and Museum's commitment to artistic innovation and preservation.

The core of The Fabric Workshop and Museum has always been the Artist-in-Residence program, where artists from all over the U.S. and the world collaborate with FWM's staff to create new works of contemporary art. From its inception in 1977, Founding Director Marion Boulton Stroud envisioned a center where artists could research and experiment with materials foreign to them, working hand-in-hand with a knowledgeable staff. The initial focus was, and remains, working with fabric and fiber in ways that were both new to the artist and to the world of contemporary art. Since then, the door has been open to all sensibilities and an astonishing array of media and results.

As seen on the accompanying illustrated checklist of exhibition highlights, some of FWM's most famous collaborative projects will be shown, including Maria Fernanda Cardoso's Cardoso Flea Circus, Robert Morris' Restless Sleepers/Atomic Shroud, and Donald Lipski's American Flag Ball #2, as well as examples of the Workshop's predilection for functional products. Since its founding, FWM has embraced both highly prominent and emerging artists with an ongoing commitment to Philadelphia artists. Threads of HistoryÊbrings together thirty years of FWM's past achievements and its ongoing emphasis on tirelessly helping all its artists to create in unexpected ways.

About The Curator
Starting in 1969, Patterson Sims has held several positions in the visual arts. His concentration has been in the modern and contemporary field with a specialty in American modernism and contemporary art. He has been the Director of the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey since September 2001, where in addition to other duties he has organized several Exhibitions, including Philip Pearlstein: Objectifications, a survey show that is on view at the Montclair Art Museum until Feb. 1, 2009. He leaves in January, 2009 the Montclair Art Museum to work on several writing and curatorial projects. In his previous position as Deputy Director for Research Support at The Museum of Modern Art from 1996 to 2001, he directed the Department of Education and oversaw the Library and Museum Archives. At the Seattle Art Museum from 1987 to 1996, his work as Associate Director for Art and Exhibitions included responsibility with the Director for the curatorial and acquisition program. At the Whitney Museum from 1976 to l987, Sims was the first designated curator of the museum's comprehensive collection of 20th century American art and organized many exhibitions. From 1969 to 1976 at O.K. Harris Gallery, which was the first public art gallery in the NYC neighborhood that became the SoHo arts district, he was assistant director of the gallery and actively involved in the downtown contemporary art scene. He has frequently written and spoken on American art, and is and has been on the boards of several arts-and community-related organizations, including iCI.