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Current Exhibition

Needle Art:
A Post-Modern Sewing Circle

February 17 - March 12, 2006

Opening Reception:
Friday, February 17, 2006 5:00 - 7:00


The art of needlework is thousands of years old, employing materials and methods handed down through countless generations. Needle Art: A Postmodern Sewing Circle, opening February 13th at the De Pree Gallery, Hope College, pays tribute to this legacy by presenting fifty objects by artists who use needlework forms or traditional needlework materials, tools, and techniques to create powerful and expressive works of art.

The needle is an ancient and universal tool, and an evolutionary thread connects the artists in this exhibition with their historical past. Some use the sewing machine, a tool that merges artistic creation with commercial production and precision. Other artists are laptop sewers, accomplishing their work stitch by stitch. The artists in this postmodern sewing circle use familiar techniques—embroidery, quilting, beadwork, and upholstery—in a very contemporary way. But though the methods may be traditional, the materials range from gingham and organza to beach towels, Styrofoam, cornhusks, and even baseballs.

The works on display vary from the personal and nostalgic to the political, feminist, and simply funny. The objects are a bridge, taking us from what we thought we knew about needle art—as “women’s work” or as a minor art—to an appreciation of it as a medium with enormous artistic potential. Needle Art: A Postmodern Sewing Circle is a cutting-edge exhibition that blends the old with the new, craft with fine art, into a dazzling and thought-provoking experience.

Needle Art: A Postmodern Sewing Circle is curated by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, California. The exhibition is organized by the Bedford Gallery and toured by ExhibitsUSA. The purpose of ExhibitsUSA is to create access to an array of arts and humanities exhibitions, nurture the development and understanding of diverse art forms and cultures, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities.

ExhibitsUSA is a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1972. ExhibitsUSA is generously supported by Altria Group, Inc.; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; James H. Clement Jr.; ConocoPhillips; the Cooper Foundation; Maureen and Robert Decherd; Douglas County Bank/Ross and Marianna Beach; DST Systems, Inc.; The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation; Houston Endowment, Inc.; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; Edward Jones; the Helen Jones Foundation; the William T. Kemper Foundation, Commerce Bank, trustee; the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation; the Meadows Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust; The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; the Woods Charitable Fund; and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.


For more information, please contact the De Pree Gallery Office at (616) 395-7500. Regular Gallery hours for the Academic Year are Sunday-Monday 1:00-5:00; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; and Thursday from 10:00 a.m.until 9:00 p.m. The De Pree Art Center and Gallery is located at the corner of 12th Street and Columbia Avenue. The gallery is handicapped accessible. Admission is free.