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Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen is an exhibition organized by BGC in collaboration with the Textilmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland. Opening September 2022, it marks the US debut of more than 175 examples of lace spanning the sixteenth to the twentieth century from the Textilmuseum’s extensive collection.

The exhibition will trace the development of lace from its origins to the present—the first large-scale American exhibition in ten years to tell this story. An introduction will address needle and bobbin techniques and the skill of female lacemakers who created this sought-after status symbol. Garments accessorized with lace and portraits of sitters wearing lace throughout the exhibition will demonstrate that it was a signifier of power and wealth for men and women at the courts of Habsburg Spain and Bourbon France as well as in the Spanish Colonies until it fell from favor in the wake of the French Revolution. By the mid-nineteenth century, lace’s popularity and association with elite status reemerged among fashionable women and, at the turn of the twentieth century, advances in technology enabled the widespread production of machine-made laces, which became a specialty of St. Gallen. Twentieth-century and contemporary lace and couture garments close the exhibition, illustrating recent innovations in lace production that will shape this global industry’s future.

In this workshop, co-curators Ilona Kos (Curator, Textilmuseum St. Gallen), Emma Cormack, and Michele Majer will introduce the exhibition and its organizing themes, giving an overview of both prospective and confirmed loan objects to give a sense of the exhibition’s story. Exhibition designer Ian Sullivan will speak to developing plans that take into consideration audience experience and BGC’s unique gallery spaces. We look forward to having an exploratory conversation with the BGC community at this early stage in the project.

Tuesday, April 20, 12-2 pm

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Curator’s Workshop is a new series that aims to bring early stage curatorial projects to the BGC community for collaborative conversation. In the first part of the workshop, the curator(s) will present the concept and project at its current degree of development. In the second, discussion will focus on how the “story” of the exhibition can be used to connect to the life experiences of visitors. This initiative is part of new commitment to rooting exhibition projects in the BGC’s teaching and research vocations, and to bringing student and community voices into the formation of these projects from their earliest stage.

This event is open to the BGC community and invited guests of the speakers. This event will be held via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 10 am on the day of the event.