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Anni Albers
Necklace, ca. 1940
drain strainer and paper clips
length: 16 in. (40.6 cm), strainer: 3 in. (7.6 cm) diameter
1994.14.16

2017 Paris

Medusa considers our relationship to jewelry both physically and conceptually. Neither sculpture nor fashion per se, jewelry lies somewhere in between. Jewelry is an art form, but it is rarely considered a work of art. Jewelry is a kind of taboo in the art world, contradictory to what an artwork is supposed to be. It is seen as too gendered (too feminine), too precious, too corporeal and decorative, and too primitive and useless. Jewelry creates an attraction/repulsion for the one who stares at it, wears it or makes it, as the mythological face of Medusa.

The exhibition gathers 400 works—handmade, delegated, unique or multiple—by artists, studio jewelry designers, and contemporary and high end makers, as well as historical pieces. Medusa envisions jewelry as a meta language, a transitional object that adorns and socializes the body, and allows it to re-invent itself, in the private or public spheres: a crucial tool in terms of body politics. The show aims to go beyond the no-go "legitimacy" discourse, in favor of a critical perspective that respects jewelry's status as a peripheral, problematic and fascinating object.

Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College, 1937. Photo: Helen M. Post
Anni Albers
Untitled, ca. 1948
gouache on paper
13 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (34.9 x 27.3 cm)
1994.10.8
Anni Albers
Two, 1952
linen, cotton, rayon
18 1/2 x 40 1/4 in. (47 x 102.2 cm)
1996.12.3
Anni Albers
Red and Blue Layers, 1954
cotton
24 1/4 × 14 3/4 in. (61.6 × 37.8 cm)
1998.12.1
Anni Albers
Drawing for a Rug II, 1959
gouache on paper
5 1/8 x 17 7/16 in. (13 x 44.3 cm)
1994.10.15
Anni Albers
Knot, 1947
gouache on paper
17 × 20 in. (43.2 × 51 cm)
1994.10.3
Anni Albers
Untitled, 1941
rayon, linen, cotton, wool, jute
21 × 46 in. (53.3 × 116.8 cm)
2012.12.1
Anni Albers
Epitaph, 1968
59 x 23 in. (149.9 x 58.4 cm)
2005.12.1

2017 Bilbao, Spain

Anni Albers: Touching Vision presents a focused survey of the artist's key series over six decades of work, from her Bauhaus years to the late 1970s. Best known for her pioneering role in the field of textile or fiber art, her innovative treatment of warp and weft, and her constant quest for new patterns and uses of fabric, Albers was instrumental in redefining the artist as a designer. Her art was inspired by pre-Columbian folklore and modern industry, yet unhampered by conventional notions of craftsmanship and gender-specific labor. Albers studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where she met her husband, the painter Josef Albers, and eventually directed the weaving workshop in 1931. After the institution was closed by the Nazi party in 1933, Albers and her husband moved to North Carolina, where they were both hired to teach at a free-form school that would become a benchmark of modern American art, Black Mountain College. There Albers continued to combine her educational activity with artistic experimentation, while also authoring what are now considered seminal texts in the history of contemporary textile art. The exhibition reveals affinities and unifying threads that illustrate the influence and continued relevance of this unique artist's ideas. A selection of writings by the artist, translated for the first time into Spanish, is being published as a companion to the exhibition.

Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square, 1965
oil on masonite
24 x 24 in. (60.9 x 60.9 cm)
1976.1.586

2017 London + Düsseldorf

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White investigates where and when grisaille painting was used and to what effect: from early religious works to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film. Comprising works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas from the Renaissance to today by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, Josef Albers, and Gerhard Richter, Monochrome encourages visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting.

Josef Albers
Untitled (Maya Temple, Chichen Itza, Mexico), ca. 1940
gelatin silver print
sheet: 5 1/8 x 6 15/16 in. (13 x 17.6 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

2017 New York

Josef Albers in Latin America brings together the artist's photographs and photo collages from the Guggenheim's collection and various lenders. These works, many of which have never been exhibited publicly, suggest a nuanced relationship between the forms and motifs of pre-Columbian monuments and the artist's iconic abstract canvases.

Albers's innovative approach to photography remains an underappreciated aspect of his career. On his first trip to Mexico, in 1935, Albers encountered the magnificent architecture of ancient Mesoamerica. He later remarked in a letter to Vasily Kandinsky, a former colleague at the Bauhaus, "Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art." With his wife, artist Anni Albers, Josef visited Mexico and other Latin American countries nearly a dozen times from 1935 to 1967. They saw numerous archeological sites and monuments, especially in Mexico and Peru. On each visit, Josef took hundreds of black-and-white photographs of the pyramids, shrines, and sanctuaries at these sites, often grouping multiple images printed at various scales onto eight by ten inch sheets.

Albers's experiences in Latin America offer an essential context for understanding his paintings and prints, particularly from his Homage to the Square and Variant/Adobe series, examples of which are featured in this show.

2018 Düsseldorf + London