1. Artist Angela Hennessy discusses memorializing the dead as a critical act of survival and resilience. Many artists turn to their aesthetic and somatic practices in the face of loss. By their proximity to bodies, textiles are intimately positioned to serve in the work of mourning. As testimony, evidence and witness, textiles mediate the relationship between the living and the dead through structure, metaphor and materiality.

    About Angela Hennessy
    Angela Hennessy is an Oakland based artist and associate professor at California College of the Arts. Through writing, studio work and ritual performance, her practice questions assumptions about death and the dead themselves. Hennessy’s work has been featured in Sculpture Magazine, The New Yorker, Nat Brut, Surface Design Journal, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, and recently in exhibitions at the Museum of the African Diaspora, Pt. 2 Gallery and Southern Exposure. Hennessy has upcoming exhibitions at SOMArts, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and Oakland Museum of California. She is a 2019 San Francisco Artadia Award winner.

    About Contemporary Voices
    Meet innovative artists and scholars whose practice draws on textile materials, techniques or knowledge. This virtual series is presented in partnership with the Textile Society of America and is supported through the museum's Cynthia and Alton Boyer Fund for Education.

    The views and opinions expressed by program speakers do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, or its partners.

    # vimeo.com/690557758 Uploaded 94 Views 0 Comments
  2. The back of an embroidery is usually hidden from view, but American artist Cayce Zavaglia celebrates the verso image in her large-scale portraits that can be viewed from both sides — a metaphor for the public and private self.

    In this talk, Zavaglia discusses her obsession with the verso side of her embroidered portraits and the parallels to the “other side” we each possess. She shares her journey from paint to embroidery and back again, and shows examples of recent large-scale works which challenge traditional needlework etiquette and the preconceived expectations of hand embroidery. Zavaglia’s works are a celebration of her childhood love of craft, her training as a painter and her life as both a mother and maker.

    About Contemporary Voices:
    Meet innovative artists and scholars whose practice draws on textile materials, techniques, or knowledge. This series is presented in partnership with the Textile Society of America and is supported through the museum's Cynthia and Alton Boyer Fund for Education.

    The views and opinions expressed by program speakers do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, or its partners.

    # vimeo.com/632120724 Uploaded 405 Views 0 Comments
  3. Tanya Aguiñiga discusses fiber art as activism on the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Fiber-centered interventions through performance, site-specific installation, community-based collaborations and object making have helped Aguiñiga and others voice the emotions felt at the edge of two cultures. In the face of injustice, fiber and textile techniques have been her companions in creating works of healing and empowerment.

    In this virtual talk Aguiñiga unpacks the specifics of why fiber and textile-based materials have been the most effective conduit for her to bridge worlds at the border. She will discuss design thinking, give a brief history of art at the border and explore fiber works by other artists carried out at the border. Program participants will receive a guide to best practices for community engagement.

    About Tanya Aguiñiga:
    Tanya Aguiñiga was born in San Diego, California, and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. An artist, designer and craftsperson, Aguiñiga works with traditional craft materials, such as natural fibers, and collaborates with other artists and activists to create sculptures, installations, performances and community-based art projects. Drawing on her upbringing as a binational citizen who crossed the border from Tijuana to San Diego daily for school, Aguiñiga’s work speaks to her experience of divided identity and aspires to tell the larger and often invisible stories of the transnational community.

    About Contemporary Voices:
    Meet innovative artists and scholars whose practice draws on textile materials, techniques or knowledge. This series is presented in partnership with the Textile Society of America and is supported through the museum's Cynthia and Alton Boyer Fund for Education.

    The views and opinions expressed by program speakers do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, or its partners.

    # vimeo.com/606712716 Uploaded 108 Views 0 Comments
  4. The museum co-hosted a talk by American fiber artist Bisa Butler in partnership with the James Renwick Alliance and the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. Trained as a painter at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Butler shifted to a textile-based practice to add vibrancy and dimension she found lacking in her paintings. In turning to textiles, Butler also connected with her family history: She had learned to sew at a young age from her mother and grandmother. In revisiting these early lessons and joining them with her formal studies, Butler found her artistic path.

    About Bisa Butler:
    Bisa Butler’s composite characters are inspired by historical photography. The resulting images are rendered life-sized and vibrantly colored with viewers often engaging with the subject’s eye to eye. Her artwork has been included in solo and group exhibitions across the country. Butler’s works are included in museum collections at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and many others, with a work in progress for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery.

    The views and opinions expressed by program speakers do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, or its partners.

    # vimeo.com/574125932 Uploaded 105 Views 0 Comments
  5. Just what's so queer about threads? In this virtual presentation, curator John Chaich explores the conceptual framework guiding the group and solo exhibitions Queer Threads, which explore how artists are remixing fiber and textile tradition to explore contemporary LGBTQ+ identities and ideas. He also speaks about the current Queer Threads: Curious Spaces exhibition series and programming presented in collaboration with Transformer in Washington, D.C., and he will preview an upcoming group exhibition at the San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

    This program is a collaboration with Transformer.

    The views and opinions expressed by program speakers do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, or its partners.

    # vimeo.com/467781661 Uploaded 97 Views 0 Comments

Contemporary Art Programs

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The museum's contemporary art programming includes the Art of Masks series (2020) and the ongoing Contemporary Voices series in partnership with the Textile Society of America, featuring innovative artists and scholars whose practice draws on textile…


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The museum's contemporary art programming includes the Art of Masks series (2020) and the ongoing Contemporary Voices series in partnership with the Textile Society of America, featuring innovative artists and scholars whose practice draws on textile materials, techniques or knowledge. Contemporary Voices is supported through the museum's Cynthia and Alton Boyer Fund for Education.

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