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The Artists Institute

Monday, October 14th, 2019



In conjunction with Lynne’s Cooke’s exhibition Maneuver at the Artist’s Institute this fall, we’ve invited artist Nancy Shaver to organize a few events inspired by Anni Albers’ life and work. The first is a visit to Henry, the store that Shaver has owned and operated for the past twenty years in Hudson, New York. On Monday, October 14th, Shaver and her business partner Robin Greeson will host us at Henry for a talk about the shop in relation to Albers’ thinking. Round-trip transportation is provided at cost, for $40; we will depart from New York at 9:30am and return by 6:30pm. Due to space constraints, this event is RSVP, on a first-come, first-serve basis. To attend or for further information, please e-mail An introduction from Nancy Shaver:

Artists’ Work. “to open eyes”*
clear plastic slipcovers for the washer and dryer

It has not been easy to absorb Anni Albers, or Anni Albers’ work, into my thought. It has been a struggle. Mostly because an authoritarian idea of perfection as a stance, a lens, makes me so intellectually and intuitively nervous; itchy in fact. But in opposition to this state of mind, the visual facts of perfect craftsmanship in Anni Albers’ weavings are palliative.
Boundaries and improvisation within the constraints of warp and weft formed Albers’ Monte Alban, 1936, Epitaph, 1968, and later, there were similar constraints in the printing process in Line Involvement III, 1964. The wonder of the work is based on the manipulation of threads that form a visual: a written-woven text that is so readable and unreadable at the very SAME time. This is transformative.
I have enormous respect for the clarity of process and the absolute clarity of her articulation of process in On Weaving. I respect how such clean boundaries and such clear definition of boundaries—her knowledge of set limitations—opens, within these boundaries, a limitless field of possibilities.
Many artists use this method and have discovered similar formulas for work—for observing the world. Perhaps this clarity and specific attention in choosing facts or materials makes artists’ work visible. Perhaps this process of gathering facts and materials is the connective tissue, regardless of the look of the product, artist to artist, through the maze of history.
Anni Albers work is woven as a tangible textile, a literal fabric. It is also pure metaphor: woven and fabric.
clear plastic slipcovers for the washer and dryer

My approach to Anni Albers is through the contrary. The contrary, to my mind, is always a part of the “what is.”
The existence of my shop Henry in Hudson, New York is contrary. I will present Henry as part of “what is,” and as opposite to it, with the understanding that the visual is a language that unites us as artists. That again, to quote Josef Albers, that artists’ work is to “open eyes.” That visual language is broadcast by artists. Artists connect to the fabric of living, the fabric of art through specific observation. Specific observations are as tight as warp and weft.
Through studying and thinking about Anni Albers’ thought processes, I have gained clarity about the contrary issues that drive my own work.
clear plastic slipcovers for the washer and dryer

Other artists have led me to the work of Anni Albers. This is part of the exploration, how connections are made through a network, based on visual curiosity and love of process. Conversation with peers about the visual is a way of learning. There will be a conversation amongst friends about the work of Anni Albers.**
clear plastic slipcovers for the washer and dryer

Back to Henry, my shop in Hudson, New York. It is packed with both the hand-made material and the industrial; all are cultural revelations that occur through history. Reading in Anni Albers by Nicholas Fox Weber and Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi for the Guggenheim Museum, I learned that Anni Albers had great love for historical hand-made textiles and was attracted to the vast industrial production and use of textiles, which is a fact that joins Henry and my thinking about art to the work and thoughts of Anni Albers.
She created slip covers of clear plastic for her washer and dryer. Real slip covers, like countless women have and use to protect their furniture. I will end here for now, with this perfect image that connects observation, use, the ordinary, and art: Anni Albers made slipcovers for her washer and dryer.
clear plastic slipcovers for the washer and dryer

*Josef Albers in Josef + Anni Albers: Designs for Living by Nicholas Fox Weber (New York: Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 2004).
**More on this particular conversation later.

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



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