September 7, 2016 - The Fabric Workshop and Museum - Ann Hamilton: habitus
September 7, 2016

The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Ann Hamilton, habitus, 2016. Installation at Municipal Pier 9, made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

Ann Hamilton
September 6, 2016–January 8, 2017

Free public reception: September 17, 4–8pm, complimentary bus transportation provided on a continuous loop between project locations
Municipal Pier 9 (121 N Columbus Boulevard) and FWM (1214 Arch Street)

The Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm

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Beginning Saturday, September 17, 2016, The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) presents habitus, a new large-scale installation by the artist Ann Hamilton in two locations in Philadelphia: Municipal Pier 9 on the Delaware River, where an environment of cloth, sound, and light animates a venerable 55,000-foot warehouse through October 10, 2016 and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, where an installation of commonplace books, textiles, and other objects related to fabric making recasts three floors through January 8, 2017.

On Saturday, September 17, from 4 to 8pm, a free public reception will be held in both locations.

"The Fabric Workshop and Museum has collaborated with Ann Hamilton twice before, the last her project for the American Pavilion at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999). Both are surely among the most memorable works to grow out of our Artist-in-Residence Program and we are thrilled to collaborate on this very ambitious dual-sited exhibition,” says Susan Lubowsky Talbott, interim executive director.

Ann Hamilton began habitus by exploring Philadelphia’s textile collections and visiting some of its generations-old textile producers. Seeing looms that have been in operation for decades and watching raw material become a single thread, then a warp, and then a weft of a cloth: these experiences inspired the making of habitus. The artist says, “Just as cloth is a structure binding individual threads into a larger whole, this project is designed to encourage associative links between texts and textiles and their individual forms of knowledge and experience.”

For the installation, visitors to Municipal Pier 9 are invited to activate rope and pulley mechanisms to set giant curtains spinning into motion; read two new poems by Philadelphia poet Susan Stewart, projected onto a shipping container; feel the words of the poems, printed on fabric strips and wound on reels, as they unwind continuously through hands; and observe a ball made up of threads pulled from knit sweaters as it ceaselessly rises and falls.

While the installation at Municipal Pier 9 is on the scale of landscape, the three floors in The Fabric Workshop and Museum are on the scale of thread, needle, and book. Here, a number of new digital prints by Hamilton are displayed along with a selection of historical objects—including literary commonplace books, textile sample books, dolls, and needlework portfolios—borrowed from The Design Center at Philadelphia University, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and Winterthur Museum Garden & Library.

Hamilton has also invited the public to submit passages of published writing that reference the social and material life of cloth to Tumblr. The virtual assembly of excerpts will be offset on newsprint and distributed on long shelves in the exhibition for visitors to read and keep, thereby forming another collection.

Following the exhibition period, a comprehensive publication, more an artist’s book than a conventional catalogue, will be published by FWM.

About the funders
Major support for Ann Hamilton: habitus has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Coby Foundation, Ltd., the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shipley-Miller Foundation, and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which allowed the use of their warehouse for this project and provided invaluable support.

About the artist
The recipient of many honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1993), the artist Ann Hamilton is internationally recognized for her large scale, multi-media installations, including the event of a thread, which was staged in 2012 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. This is her third collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, an arts institution renowned around the world for its Artist-in-Residence Program, permanent collection, and archive.


Press preview: Friday, September 16, 11:30am
Press contact: Anne Edgar, T 646 336 7230 / anne [​at​]

The Fabric Workshop and Museum
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