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woven building

November 5, 2013


From Benjamin

The exhibition now at up at New York’s Metropolitan Museum about textiles is HUGE! Not in the popular blockbuster way, and not in the physical breadth of its scope (a not overwhelming 134 works). Rather in the rigorousness of its examination and the importance of its subject, accurately summed up in the title: “The Interwoven Globe: The World Textile Trade 1500-1800”.  

Many of the works on show are also very large. Between the interior architectural functions they performed (tapestries & table-carpets), their employment in fashion as finely wrought displays of wealth & status, (capes, copes, cloaks & robes), or the private patronage role they served as commissioned artworks, these artifacts are process-heavy, relying on all manner of skills and all sorts of materials, means and methods of constructions. But there has never been a serious, academically scrupulous exploration of the textile trade, focusing on where they originated, and where & how they wound up, the way, say, that tea & spices or porcelains or pigments have – until now. Curator Amelia Peck has accomplished a sort of reverse-alchemy: from whole and precious cloth, a global economic history is laid bare.

At the Met through January 5, 2014.


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