Interiors and Exteriors
Art and Design
Objects and Antiquities

Friday, May 4


Our friend, and Wardens guest contributorLisa Di Quinzio strongly recommended this exhibition of textiles collected by Seth Siegelaub for the Centre for Social Research on Old Textiles in Spitalfields, London.  The Stuff That Matters, presented by Raven Row, comprises over 200 artifacts from a collection of approximately 650.  The exhibition includes printed and woven textiles, embroideries and costume ranging from 15th century Coptic to late medieval Asian and Islamic, Renaissance to 18th century European.   The installation design for this exhibition is remarkable, placing the items in the gallery with the most sensitive attention to space and detail.  The Barkcloth and headdressses from the Pacific region and Africa are the highlight of the exhibition in their installation and as fascinating objects.  

This exhibition was accompanied by a wonderful catalogue including  a brief history of the silk weaving industry in Spitalfields, comments on the significance of textiles and society, an interview with Seth Sieglaub and an essay on his bibliographic practice, as well as a chronology of his life and career.  The chronology, like his textile collection, is extensive with an attention to detail (1990 - he starts using a computer).  Raven Row also published an exhibition guide and textile glossary which was most helpful when observing the artifacts.

Siegelaub is best known for his significant role in the emergence of what was to become known as Conceptual Art during the 1960s.  Among other disciplines, in the 1970s, he worked as an author publishing leftist books on communication and culture and founded the International Mass Media Research Center.  In the early 1980s he began collecting textiles and founded the Center for Social Research on Old Textiles in 1986.  This interest of study has led to the first general bibliography of the history of textiles Bibliographica Textilia Historiae.  I have a lot of reading to do on this man.  I want to know more.

The Stuff That Matters runs through to May 6 2012.

Thanks Lisa!

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