Perhaps to recognise Boston’s heritage as a harbour and the location of the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the waterfront, the current exhibition Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present celebrates 50 years of art created from fibre, rope and string which has been woven, twisted and shaped in a variety of ways to create three-dimensional artworks – wall-hanging, ceiling-hanging and freestanding. The Institute’s tall lift-lobby entrance gives a foretaste of what is to come with the atmosphere of a fisherman’s hut hung with ropes, but in a range of colours that would amaze any fisherman. Traditional materials and techniques are used by artists to create a variety of artworks with bold colourful graphics, delicate spiders webs, hanging screens, large sculptures and installations
Across the city in the Museum of Fine Arts is a complimentary exhibition by the artist Shinique Smith who shows her virtuosity in creating works with the style of street art but using a range of materials including fabrics to make collages, sculptures and installations, some of which look like bales of fabric in a harbour warehouse.. Matthew Reed Baker in the Boston Magazine listed it as the “must see” exhibition in August: “Her painting, sculpture, and installations are distinctive, with ecstatic swirls of color that feel like a wild hybrid of graffiti, spin art, and Kandinsky.” The show presents examples of Smith’s work from the past decade plus new paintings, sculptures, full-room installations, videos and performances, and shows the range of skills of this artist.
Much more glamorous and sophisticated, another exhibition in the Museum displays a different type of art using fabrics – and precious jewellery – in the exhibition Hollywood Glamour Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen. This exhibition displays stunning designer gowns and jewellery from the 1930s and 1940s—the most glamorous years of Hollywood film – worn by stars such as Gloria Swanson, Anna May Wong, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West and Joan Crawford, supplemented by photographs and drawings.. These are works of art that remind us of the glamour of that era and the stars who made Hollywood the film capital of the world at that time.
Three very different exhibitions that show that arts comes in a variety of forms and materials, in this case fibre and fabric rather than oil paint and watercolour.