Look back and reflect on MOCA’s history, past exhibitions, initiatives, programs, and permanent collection, and see how all of these efforts relate to our present offerings and future initiatives. This series is led by MOCA's team of curators.
This week, we reflect on our exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 that was set to close May 18, and will soon be coming down from our walls.
Pattern and Decoration, or P&D, artists had been taught—as generations before them had, too—that decoration, ornament, and craft were inferior to fine art. Floral, arabesque, and patchwork patterns were denigrated as "too feminine" and dismissed as "mere embellishment." Decorative was a dirty word and a career killer. However, encouraged by 1970s social movements, P&D artists contended that such art world hierarchies were based on subjective value judgments, not absolute truths, and were well past their expiration dates. When P&D artists embraced the wild color combinations, rich textures, and complex patterns of decorative art traditions, such as quilting, they were also embracing new values for what counts as art and who counts as an artist.
We are pleased to announce that With Pleasure will travel to the Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, from June 26–November 28, 2021.
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