Feature Articles

January 2011

North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, Offers New Exhibits

The North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, will present two new exhibit on view at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design including: Barkcloth, Bras, and Bulletproof Cotton: The Powers of Costume, on view from Jan. 19 through May 12, 2012 and Textiles of Exile, featuring fiber arts made by immigrants, refugees, and displaced persons, on view from Jan. 19 through May 12, 2012. A reception for both exhibits will be held on Jan. 19, from 6-8pm.

According to the Biblical story of Genesis, the moment that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and became self-aware, the very first thing they did was make themselves something to wear. Using amazing objects from the Gregg Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition explores not only how clothing serves to protect, shelter, shield, and modify the human body, but also how what we wear helps us lure, seduce, dominate, segregate or manipulate others, discover spirituality and personal self awareness, proclaim our individuality or group membership, or express ourselves.

Photographs, artifacts, jewelry, and a dazzling array of outfits ranging from military uniforms, gangster wear and tribal shaman’s garb, to executive power suits and ultra-high-fashion evening gowns, offer a fascinating foray into how clothes can do so much more than merely “make the man.”

All around the world, individuals have responded to displacement by making textiles that reflect their difficult new lives in unfamiliar environments. Working with fibers is one of the oldest of human activities, one of the easiest to seize and carry in an emergency (needle and thread are far lighter and more compact than pottery wheels, carpenter tools or blacksmith forges), one of the easiest to hide, one of the most comforting to engage in, and the craft most closely associated with storytelling. Due to various combinations of factors like these, links between the loss of home and place and the fiber arts are found almost everywhere.

In Textiles of Exile, the Gregg displays examples from illegal Hispanic immigrants in California, African slaves brought to the Americas, Afghan refugees in Pakistan, imprisoned women in Chile, and relocated Cambodian Hmongs in North Carolina; all call attention to the universality of the “silent scream” of homesickness.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 919/515-3503 or visit (www.ncsu.edu/arts).

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