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EXHIBITIONS: Alumna a co-curator at Design Museum

1.18.2013

By Dateline staff

In her latest book, UC Davis alumna Mary Schoeser '72 shines the spotlight on the university’s Design Collection. Now she is here, on campus, as co-curator of an exhibition of global ethnographic and contemporary textiles from that very collection.

The exhibition, Structures, Signifiers and Society: People and Textiles, is set to open Tuesday (Jan. 22) at the Design Museum.

Schoeser’s new book, Textiles: The Art of Mankind, features more than 200 objects from the Design Collection, and more than 50 of these are in the exhibition.

To see the Design Collection have such prominence in Schoeser’s book is a testament to the collection’s significance and importance as a teaching and research resource, said Adele Zhang, a lecturer in the Department of Design and co-curator of the winter exhibition with Schoeser.

Since graduating 40 years ago, Schoeser has become a leading authority in the field of textiles. She is a curator and historian whose previous books include World Textiles: A Concise History and Silk. She has advised English Heritage and the National Trust in the United Kingdom, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

As an undergraduate, she participated in the Education Abroad Program, at the University of Edinburgh, and has since become a resident of the United Kingdom, where she is honorary president of the Textile Society.

In doing research, though, she found Europe was no match for the UC Davis library. “There is no library with open stacks that can equal it in Europe,” she said.

So she returned to the university library, which she said “serves textile interests exceptionally well, covering as it does everything from raw materials, technology and polymer chemistry, to ethnography, anthropology and design.”

Of course, she already knew the library quite well. “I worked there as a student, helping with the recataloging required to move all the relevant volumes to the new Physical Sciences Library,” she said.

She was not nearly as familiar with the Design Collection: It was in its infancy when she graduated. So it was only about a decade ago when she started visiting the collection, “and was so impressed with the quality and diversity of its holdings that I wanted to showcase it in a publication.”

Textiles: The Art of Mankind came out Dec. 2, published by Thames & Hudson. “Textiles are the most ubiquitous and diverse creative art form on Earth,” the publisher’s website declares. “This new book celebrates their spectacular and enduring appeal like no other.”

Schoeser, with knowledge gleaned from a lifetime in the textile arts, presents “a sweeping survey of the role textiles have played throughout history,” according to the publisher.

The large-format book features more than 1,000 historical and contemporary images with descriptions that underscore the importance of context for appreciating the detail of fabric and cloth.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Structures, Signifiers and Society: People and Textiles

WHEN: Jan. 22-March 18

WHERE: Design Museum, 124 Cruess Hall.

OPENING RECEPTION AND SCHOESER LECTURE (and book signing): 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Admission is free; people interested in attending are asked to RSVP by email, designmuseum@ucdavis.edu. Sponsored by the Surface Design Association.

GUIDED MUSEUM WALK AND TOUR WITH THE CURATORS (and book signing): 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27

ONGOING EXHIBITIONS

2013 Student Exhibition — Screenprints from TANA's summer 2012 and fall 2012 workshops. TANA (Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer, or Art Workshop of the New Dawn) is a program of the Department of Chicana/o Studies. Through winter quarter, TANA, 1224 Lemen Ave., Woodland. Call for exhibition hours: (530) 402-1065.

• 2.5 Dimensional — Craft Center instructor Joanna Kidd presents ceramic bas-relief portraits in fragment, removed from any surrounding narrative context. The work in this exhibition combines the three-dimensional depth of sculpture and the illusion of depth on a flat surface of drawing. This combination of sculptural depth and illusion creates distortions in the images when viewed from different angles, lending the sculptures a curious animation as the viewer moves around them. Through -Feb. 8, Craft Center Gallery, South Silo. Closing reception, 6-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8. Regular hours, 12:30-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 12:30-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends.

The Weavings of D.Y. BegayThe award-winning Navajo weaver creates tapestries with a unique blend of traditional techniques and contemporary design, capturing the changing light, silhouettes and colors of her homestead in Tselani, Ariz. Jan. 8-March 15, C.N. Gorman Museum, 1316 Hart Hall. Reception and artist talk, Tuesday, Feb. 12: reception starts at 4 p.m. in the museum, and the lecture starts at 4:30 p.m. next door, in 2 Wellman Hall. Regular hours: noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Read more.

AT SHIELDS LIBRARY

Following the Great Migration: Researching the 2012 Campus Community Book Project Book Library resources that complement the 2012 section, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson's award-winning study of the Great Migration, the movement of almost 6 million African-Americans from the South from 1915 to 1970. Display assembled by David Michalski, social and cultural studies librarian, who also has compiled an online resource guide, including parallel texts for examining and interpreting the Great Migration's profound influence on American society and culture. The online guide also includes interviews with Wilkerson, a list of influential books on the Great Migration, and links to archival sources and other research tools that can help animate the discussion of this year's book. Fall and winter quarters. For more information about the exhibition and-or the online research guide, send an email to the Humanities, Social Sciences and Government Services Department,  hssref@lib.ucdavis.edu.

Worlds of Steampunk: Fiction, Art, Fashion and Culture It started as a subgenre of science fiction in the 1980s — incorporating fantasy, alternate history and fantastic technology, inspired by the advances of the Industrial Revolution and the late 19th century. Like its antecedents, including the novels of Jules Verne (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), steampunk fiction features dirigibles, balloons, everything powered by steam, and mechanical contraptions of all kinds. You can see it today in movies and art — and in an entire subculture with its own fashion style (goggles, corsets, fancy top hats, and all manner of mechanical accessories decorated with wheels, cogs, gears, clockworks and other imaginative devices). Exhibit prepared by Roberto C. Delgadillo and Marcia Meister, Humanities, Social Sciences and Government Information Service. Fall and winter quarters.

The Shields Library exhibitions are in the lobby. Regular hours: 7:30 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, noon-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-midnight Sunday. Holidays and other exceptions.

OFF CAMPUS

• Playing Their Dream — UC Davis retiree Charlie McDonald presents a selection of images from the River Cats' 2012 season, during which he served as a photography intern for the Sacramento baseball team. Playing Their Dream "is my collection of photographs depicting the color and design of the game — and the character of the men involved while playing professional baseball at the Triple-A level," McDonald said in a news release. Through January, Gallery 1075, inside the West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 W. Capitol Ave. Regular hours: 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

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