Sneak preview! Cutting-edge Textiles in Game-Changing NY Museum Show on Fusion of Latin American Art, Craft, Design

The “New Territories” in the groundbreaking show opening Tuesday at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design are the laboratories where Latin America’s art, craft, and design converge, along with high fashion, social justice, sustainability, activism, and more.

From emerging designers in San Salvador and San Juan to collectives in Santiago and Buenos Aires, “New Territories” includes familiar names like Pedro Reyes, Carla Fernandez, and Sebastian Errazuriz, along with many others who will be new to the New York audience.

Most of them share a commitment to native materials, traditional art forms—and, crucially, to local artisans as collaborators in the making (and marketing) of beautiful, often utilitarian objects that might just as easily be found in a museum, a shop, a home, or on a human body.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the textile arts selected by the exhibition’s organizers, chief curator Lowery Stokes Sims and curatorial assistant and project manager Adriana Kertzer. They range from Carla Fernandez’s high-fashion collaborations with Mexican textile weavers to the activist garments of Peruvian designer Lucia Cuba, who directs attention to issues like forced sterilizations of women during Fujimori’s rule. Rio-based artist Maria Nepomuceno is here, with her basketry technique developed alongside weavers from northeastern Brazil, and so are Chiachio & Giannone, the Argentine duo who appear in delirious monumental embroideries like La Ciudad Frondosa, which shows them as a Guarani couple in the jungle, along with their dachshund.

Chiachio and Giannone are among the artists in who will take up residence in the museum’s open studios this week, demonstrating their work and explaining it to the public. So don’t forget to visit the sixth floor!


Glossary of Contemporary Practitioners

Shelly Goldsmith - Fragmented Baptism (2005)

  • She uses textiles to interpret her memories and emotions.
  • Reclaimed clothing 
  • Clothing that trigger memories 

Freddie Robbins - Craft Kills

  • Self portrait based on Saint Sebastian being martyred 
  • Skin being pierced with knitting needles 
  • "dying for your art"
  • Can craft be considered as dangerous or subversive

 Maria Nepomuceno - Tempo Para Respirar (Breathing Time)

  • The rope represents the umbilical cord and nature 
  • Made from intertwine rope 
  • The narrative thought through the use of materials 

Michael Brennand-Wood - Final Twist 

  • Historical sources 
  • Areas of textile practive embroidery, pattern, lace and floral imagery 
  • Cross cultural connections and freedom to work outside the mainstream

Sue Lawty - Sketchbook Pages

  • Emotional, spiritual and physical engagement with the land
  • Two and three dimensions
  • Repetition  

Maria Nepomuceno allows her materials to obey their own organisational logic, weaving them together in a process that presents seemingly infinite possibilities for the spiraling, circling and multiplying of forms. Inspired by ancient traditions and complex indigenous craft techniques, Nepomuceno pushes these into a wholly contemporary engagement with space and structure, form and concept. That the sculptures appear anthropomorphic and organic is essential to a reading of her work: the spiraling central to her process relates to the spirals occurring naturally throughout the universe, giving shape to entire galaxies as well as the blueprint for existence, DNA. The sculptures bear a direct relationship to the human body, at times seeming familiar and almost functional, as though they are to be utilized for some as yet unlearned task, and at others appearing entirely alien, like unidentified microbes occupying new anatomical terrain. Nepomuceno’s work draws on the modern history of Brazilian art and has a particular affinity with the ideas of Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, who established parallels between their own aesthetic systems and those of the real world, worked with everyday materials, and maintained that art must be subjective and vital.

via Maria Nepomuceno at Victoria Miro London


Further studio work with Maria Nepomuceno at Turner Contemporary in Margate.

Today at the studio group for Maria Nepomuceno’s sculpture, we did more work using rope.  It was great to get into the rhythm of stitching and to see the components grow.

The top three pictures show the piece I was working on today, the bottom three show other components.  I plan to attend another session the week after next.  Really enjoying being a part of this group!

I was delighted that Maria bought a pegloom from me to take back to Brazil with her!


"More than anything, the work is about time and affection."

Maria Nepomuceno: Tempo para Respirar (Breathing Time), at Turner Contemporary (more)


A development in my work has been the addition of flat shapes which add another dimension to the installation. I have been cutting circles out of MDF using my latest tool - a jigsaw. Although the black disc do not stand out well against the blue carpet they have become an integral part if the composition. The integration of Estelle Woolley’s plaster bowl shaped objects has also opened up further possibilities for me .
I have been inspired by the work of artist Maria Nepomuceno whose exhibition I visited recently In London

I achieved something today! This is what I did this afternoon, repairing part of Maria Nepomuceno’s Tempo para Respirar at Turner Contemporary. Before Maria returned to Brazil she showed us how to fix the tears that so often appear in these woven palm sections of her work. This is by no means perfect, but I don’t think it’s that bad for an hour and a half’s work. Time to add ‘Freelance Art Restoration’ to my CV!

Working with textile artist Maria Nepomuceno

Yesterday I went to the first gathering of a studio group at Turner Contemporary gallery, led by Brazilian textile artist Maria Nepomuceno.  Maria’s sculpture, Tempo para Respirar (Breathing Time) will be exhibited in the gallery from September.

Maria will be leading a studio group in making the sculpture, which will be constructed from materials such as rope and beads.  We started by learning how to sew pieces of rope together to make tubes, sewing with circular needles and using strong nylon.  The piece has been started in Rio and will evolve in Margate over the next few weeks.  Maria described the work as being infinite, ie it keeps on growing and will never be completed - there is always room for more stitching and textiles to be added.  The lage scale piece will be constructed in order that people can go inside and experience space.  Some of the work will be suspended.

I am very excited to be a part of the group constructing this work.  The first session has also inspired me to do some more work on my large woven piece in my back garden.

More details on the Turner Contemporary website


I haven’t got round to taking many ‘proper’ photos of the whole installation yet. These were all taken while we were installing the final sections of Maria Nepomuceno’s piece, Tempo Para Respirar (Breathing Time) at Turner Contemporary. I was part of the studio group that produced a lot of the spiralled rope forms that now adorn the gallery’s walls. Fun.