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Anni Albers cover photo for conversation

The Artists Institute


Anni Albers: A Conversation Among Friends
Robert Gober, Lisa Scull, Nancy Shaver, and Sterrett Smith
Monday, December 16th, 7pm
Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, North Building, Room 1527
$5 admission, free for Hunter students, staff, and faculty with RSVP

For this second part of artist Nancy Shaver’s engagement with Lynne Cooke’s exhibition Maneuver at the Artist’s Institute, she will join in a discussion about Anni Albers with a circle of friends: artist Robert Gober, textile designer and Senior Critic in the Textiles Department at the Rhode Island School of Design Lisa Scull, and artist Sterrett Smith. Tickets are available here.

The Artist's Institute will host special viewing hours for Maneuver from 5 to 6:30pm before the talk.

A Second Introduction: Maneuver

The first introduction to Anni Albers took place at Henry, my shop in Hudson, New York, on September 8, 2019. Henry is dedicated to memory, surface, texture, compounding thoughts, generational review, and conversation among friends. This is the second introduction to Albers, a presentation of thoughts about aspects of Anni Albers’s work.

Anni Albers is a weaver-artist whose work, in spite of gender-craft bias, has been passed down to fellow artists and absorbed by them. Her work continues to accrue visual attention as our social and political boundaries expand.

“To open eyes”

This is a favorite phrase to describe the job of art by her husband, Josef Albers. Art should function “to open eyes.” I read “open” in this phrase as both an adjective and a verb.

Anni Albers’s term pliable plane spans sculptural, architectural, and painting issues. This definition was coined by her to describe her craft, the discipline of weaving.  

Had this term pliable plane been familiar to me as a student of art, it would have, could have, expanded or totally changed my understanding of the nature of fabric. Fabric that Albers defined as matière: raw material. Had this term come out of the mouth of Donald Judd I would have known of it. This idea would have, could have, been a part of my art education.

Fabric is a commonplace word, commonplace both as a metaphor and as a description of a pliable plane. Textiles are pliable planes. Textiles have been part of our existence since we woke up in the garden (or did we?).

Textiles are singular art forms in many cultures, expressions of love and beauty. Anni Albers invested her lifetime of thinking and making into the endless expanse of fabrics. Both historical and future applications were part of her study. Textiles, a major form in our existence, became her art form.

Robert Gober, Lisa Scull, Sterrett Smith, and I have conversations about matters of thinking and making. We will all be thinking aloud, in conversation, about what we have learned thanks to Anni Albers.

I am looking forward to conversation among friends about Anni Albers.

—Nancy Shaver

The Artist’s Institute at Hunter College
132 E. 65th Street New York New York 10065

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