Collectors Steven R. Cole and Martha G. Ware presented an outstanding collection of 79 baskets to the Renwick Gallery of Smithsonian American Art Museum. Pledging to give an additional gift of several more baskets for this top collection of basketry viewed in public for the first time.
The museum’s branch for craft and decorative art, the Renwick Gallery, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. directly across the street from the White House. The ‘Measure of Earth’ exhibition will be on display Oct 4, 2013 through Jan 12, 2014 (7:45PM —1:45AM).
These 60 weavers, who constructed these classical baskets, had completed all of their baskets between 1983 and 2011. Produced their works without using any dyed grasses, trees, vines, or any bark gathered to weave their original baskets each with its’ own weaver’s unique style.
The baskets demonstrate the endurance of African and European basket weaving traditions found in the United States. The various roles baskets used in American life, from baskets for gathering eggs, harvesting vegetables, and for shopping. More uses are for sewing, laundry, and fishing creels, and they were environment friendly.
“The marvelous collection assembled by Steven Cole and Martha Ware introduces to the museum not only an extraordinary group of objects, but also a new complement of makers,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
“The Renwick Gallery is the ideal venue for showcasing these works of individuals reviving one of our country’s most deeply rooted craft traditions.”
Gallery talks by Bell and Cole are scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21, at noon and Thursday, Nov. 7, at noon. For additional information on these and other exhibition-related programs, including a series of basket-making demonstrations, visit americanart.si.edu/calendar.