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Intellect

20th-century tapestries to be on display at Museum of Art beginning April 21

"Tapestries: The Great 20th Century Modernists," on view from April 21 through July 24 at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, will reveal the beauty and splendor of one of the most celebrated art forms of the past through the designs of the great modernists of the 20th century.

The exhibition will feature 17 woven designs by Jean Lurçat, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, Le Corbusier, Henri Matisse, Vassily Kandinsky, Victor Vasarely, Georges Braque and Marc Chagall.

The exhibition will open to the public Friday, April 21 and will run through Monday, July 24, 2006 in the Conway A. Ashton & Carl E. Jackman Gallery on the museum's lower level. Admission to the exhibition is free.

An opening reception will be take place Thursday, April 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Milburn Gallery on the museum's lower level. Light refreshments will be served.

The reception will be free and the community is welcome.

"This exhibition is a fusion of new and old—the bold abstract designs of modernism and the ancient techniques of hand-woven tapestry," said BYU Museum of Art Curator Paul Anderson. "And it is a surprisingly appealing combination. The simple geometries and pure colors of much modern art transfer readily to the loom, and the large scale and soft texture of tapestry give these designs a sense of drama, warmth, and richness."

In the 1930s, Jean Lurçat (1892-1966), a French surrealist painter, developed a system that simplified the complicated process of weaving and sparked a modern revival of the tapestry art form.

Thanks largely to Lurçat's vision and commitment to the art of weaving, a surprising number of modern painters and sculptors were inspired to transfer a selection of their enduring masterpieces to tapestry.

Tapestry is an art designed for architectural spaces, like frescoes or murals; however, creating art on a loom requires a very different approach from painting.

The large dimensions of a tapestry demand the collaboration of a team of at least four people: the artist as the designer of the composition or cartoon, the manufacturer of the threads, the dyer producing the various color shades of the threads and the weaver who executes the final work.

The interplay between the artists and weavers offers delightful insights into the tradition of tapestry and its surprising impact on 20th century modernism.

"Tapestries: The Great 20th Century Modernists" is organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions in Washington, D.C. The BYU Museum of Art is one of only six American museums—and the only museum in the western United States—to host this remarkable group of tapestries assembled from a dozen collections throughout Europe and America.

Museum hours are Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.

Tours are conducted during regular museum hours and must be scheduled at least one week in advance. Tours usually last about one hour. Call 422-1140 to schedule a tour or to inquire about additional information or special needs.

Writer: Christopher Wilson

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