Textile Lovers’ Must-See Exhibitions in New York City: Art Bingeing and the City!

If you have a couple of days in New York City, make sure to get art-drunk at some of its amazing museums!

I got to do just that this summer. In a handful of short days, I managed to visit some of the most incredible palaces of art, and immerse myself in art, textiles, culture and inspiration. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t always give each of the exhibitions the full attention it deserved. I rushed through some museums, or selectively browsed through others. But I got to see some old friends up close, as well as admire new ones. The cumulative effect was a great admiration for human creativity and imagination across the continents and throughout the ages.

Of the museums I saw, I (still) liked the architecture of the new Whitney and the Guggenheim most.

In the latter, I was excited to find a small piece by Kurt Schwitters, one of the first artists to use found objects in art. I’ve been admiring his work since I was an art student in high school!

If you’re a textile lover, I suggest the following textile tour (though I am sure there are many more textile heavens in this city!):

Start with breath-taking ancient textiles:

You will find those by visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum. Both have permanent exhibitions displaying artifacts from various ancient cultures. They include some incredible, intricate textiles, all hand woven, of course. This Moroccan Wedding Sash, for example, can be found at the Met:

And this Turkish rug is a part of a beautiful rug exhibit at the Natural History Museum:

Continue with early-modern textile art:

Visit the Cooper Hewitt Museum. It currently displays the Jazz Age exhibition, which includes textiles (and also furniture and other items) from the 1920’s. You can also see some textiles (such as wall decor and rugs) from the same period at Radio City Music Hall, where they can be seen as originally intended. If you visit the latter, I highly recommend taking the Art Deco tour. It will take you backstage, where you can also get a glimpse of Rockette costumes!

Finish with modern textiles:

Visit the Moma! It currently has an exhibition dedicated to Robert Rauschenberg, another found-object-using artist I’ve been admiring since high school. There, I saw some Pop Art pieces I’ve long liked, such as Monogram:

And also learned of a textile-art phase in the artist’s life that I wasn’t quite aware of. That phase, apparently, followed a visit he took to India in the mid-1970’s, and included pieces such as this:

The Moma has other interesting displays of modern textile art, such as this work by Ablerto Burri:

This piece by Magdalena Abakanowicz:

Or this piece by Mira Schendal:

I hope you enjoy my suggestions of Textile Lovers’ Must-See Exhibitions in New York City. And if you’re there already, try to watch one of the shows on Broadway as well. They have nothing to do with textiles, but are really fun nonetheless!

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