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Bechtler Unveils Contemporary Tapestry Collection with ‘Nomadic Murals’ Exhibit

John Boyer, president and CEO at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, leads a tour of the ‘Nomadic Murals’ exhibit. (Photo by Jayme Johnson)

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opens a new exhibit titled Nomadic Murals: Tapestries of the Modern Era today. The fourth-floor presentation includes more than 40 tapestries created by contemporary artists in collaboration with weavers. The artists that commissioned the tapestries are more often associated with painting, sculpting or architecture. Artists on display include but are not limited to Alexander Calder, Le Corbusier, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. 

The museum’s full tapestry collection has never been on view to the public, and the pieces are now hung alongside the artists’ work to demonstrate the consistency between image creation and tapestry production.

“Tapestry has a wide appeal to a variety of audiences for its intricate beauty and its transferability,” said John Boyer, president and CEO at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. 

At a media preview that Queen City Nerve attended on Thursday, we asked Boyer what he hopes museumgoers take away from the Nomadic Murals exhibit. His lengthy response is quoted verbatim below, followed by a gallery of photos from Queen City Nerve photographer Jayme Johnson. To truly appreciate what goes into a tapestry and learn about the artists who made them, however, one needs to visit the exhibit, so we suggest you do that. 

I hope that they come to more fully appreciate the continual, exploratory, investigative element in the best of modern contemporary art and that great artists are always seeking new discoveries and new opportunities, very often defined by new media. So here we have artists whom we normally think of as painters or sculptors, but here they’re fully engaged in the development of tapestries. That’s one thing, to recognize the flexibility and the openness of these great figures. I hope people come away with a greater appreciation of the collaborative aspect of art making and to remember that [Diego] Giacometti relied on others to actually cast his great sculptures. In the same way, you’ve got [Pablo] Picasso and [Alexander] Calder and others relying on great weavers to produce their tapestries. So that collaborative aspect is always important and underscores the quality of — and the skills of — the people who actually execute the work on behalf of the artists. Finally, I would say anybody in the Carolinas — especially North Carolina — should be interested in the long and influential role of weaving and the production of threads and textiles. I mean, after all that’s what very often formed our economy and our culture and all the rest, and just for anybody who came out of that culture to come and enjoy what’s happening today in that field.” -John Boyer

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