Weaving beyond the Bauhaus at the Art Institute

1 October 2019

With 1000M only a short walk down Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute of Chicago, we’re always thrilled to visit the museum’s latest and greatest curatorial shows. One of the Art Institute’s current special exhibitions, Weaving beyond the Bauhaus, is a timely and fascinating look into the textile work that began at the influential German design school, and continued for long after.

A Female-Dominated Trade

Features weaving and textiles, created both on and off the loom, the exhibit showcases works by an array of female artists. Though the Bauhaus was a school progressive in much else, some politics were unfortunately a product of its times. The Bauhaus was founded in 1919, and many of the women who went to the school were relegated to its weaving workshop. Ironically, the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus was the most successful, profitable and longstanding department of the college. 

Weaving beyond the Bauhaus

Erica Warren, the Art Institute of Chicago’s assistant curator of textiles and the organizer of the Weaving beyond the Bauhaus, made a conscious choice not to include descriptive wall plaques in the exhibit. Rather, the pieces are accompanied by quotes from the artist, each discussing the power of learning from and teaching one another in the world of weaving. The result is a female-empowered showcase of what the women from the Bauhaus brought into the world of textile and art. It’s also the perfect reflection of the significant of the Bauhaus; though the work done at the time of the school was important, the true impact of the Bauhaus came from the dissemination of its students and their ideas across the world.

The accompanying quotes also address how the craft has transcended traditional uses, which is evident throughout the exhibit. In a female-driven, self-taught and collaborative environment, the weavers at the Bauhaus and those that came after them were able to experiment with material and treat textile less as product and more as art. The result is something that simply has to be seen.

The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603. They are open daily from 10:30 AM – 5 PM, and Thursdays until 8 PM. You can find more information about planning your visit here.