Interested in the Summer of Love but Can’t Visit SF? New York Has an Exhibition, Too!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my visit to the Summer of Love exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. I was quite surprised to find a similar exhibition in New York City!

The Museum of Art and Design now shows a Counter Culture exhibit, which is a smaller version of the one in de Young. Spread over two floors, this show displays an array of hippie outfits. Some are even more outrageous than the ones I’ve seen in SF! Here you will find more multi-cultured outfits, combining textiles from several countries:

There are also elaborate examples of denim art:

As well as some imaginative jackets. This is a detail of an army coat embroidered and appliqued by Michael Fajans:

And this leather jacket is by Nina Huryn:

In this exhibition, too, I found some elaborately crocheted outfits:

As well as some mixed-technique ones:

And I saw more hand-made boots of the kind displayed at de Young, possibly by the same artist:

Except that this exhibit also has the tool kit with which these boots were made!

Watching the video of the Summer of Love in New York felt different than experiencing similar videos in Golden Gate Park, where the events actually took place. Things seemed more removed, somehow… Still, if you’re on the East Coast and cannot make it to the exhibition in de Young, this is an excellent next-best-thing! This exhibit, too, runs until August 20th.

And if you’re at the museum already, go down a floor to see the exhibition of Judith Lieber’s handbags. Here I learned something new about the history of handbag evolution:

Even though I related more to the aesthetics of the Counter Culture exhibit in the floors above, I still admired the outrageousness of Lieber’s designs:

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!