Gallery installation, photo by Andrew McAllister

Pattern ID

January 23, 2010 - May 9, 2010
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries

Don't miss the exhibition that critics are raving about:

“…a hot, spicy, visually explosive exhibition perfect for banishing the winter blahs.…
it's an artistic event not to miss.”

- Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

“If you are a fibers person, this show is for you. If you are interested in cross-cultural developments, come on down. If your thing is feminism or gender identity, give this a look…But especially if you want to absorb incredible, cutting-edge art that has never been seen in our area before now, this is the place to be...”
- Dorothy Shinn, Akron Beacon Journal

Certain patterns seem unmistakable: the geometric diamonds of a Navajo blanket, the neatly arranged vines of damask wallpaper, or the interlocking initials of the Louis Vuitton logo. But what happens when you transform the classically sober brown and tan Louis Vuitton pattern into an explosion of bright colors intermingled with Japanese animation forms? Or pair oversized hip-hop clothing with damask wallpaper patterns? Combine fussy Victorian style clothing with vibrant, African prints? The meanings and origins of these patterns are transformed into something new.

Over the last two decades, artists have increasingly turned to pattern and dress as a language with which to communicate who they are and where they come from. The experiences of culture clash, immigration and multi-ethnicity in our globalized world have driven artists to use this visual language to chart their personal and communal histories. Through pattern and dress, artists compress time and cross geographic boundaries to illustrate the various influences that inform their cultural identities. The artists freely mix motifs from popular culture, history and art history to transform the meanings of patterns. Pattern ID features 15 artists of diverse origins who have seized on pattern and dress as powerful visual connectors between themselves, their histories and their audiences.

“The artists use pattern and dress to take up the 21st century challenge of locating one’s place in society against the backdrop of globalization,” said Ellen Rudolph, the museum’s curator of exhibitions. “Many of the artists in the exhibition have migrated from one culture to another, be it national, ethnic, racial, sexual, socioeconomic, political or religious. Rather than trade one identity for another, the artists in Pattern ID reveal ways in which identity can be cumulative.”

The approximately 40 works in Pattern ID include those of: Mark Bradford, (b. 1961, Los Angeles, CA); iona rozeal brown (b. 1966, Washington DC); Nick Cave (b. 1959, Jefferson City, MO); Willie Cole (b. 1955, Somerville, NJ); Lalla Essaydi (b. 1955, Morocco); Samuel Fosso (b. 1962, Cameroon); James Gobel (b. 1972, Las Vegas, NV); Brian Jungen (b. 1970, Fort St. John, British Columbia); Bharti Kher (b. 1969, London); Takashi Murakami (b. 1962, Tokyo); Grace Ndiritu (b. 1976, Birmingham, England); Yinka Shonibare MBE (b. 1962, London); Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971, Camden, NJ); Aya Uekawa (b. 1979, Tokyo); Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977, Los Angeles, CA)


Western Reserve PBS Documentary

Watch artist interviews and behind-the-scenes footage in this Pattern ID documentary produced
by Western Reserve PBS. Click HERE to watch on demand.


Exhibition Catalogue


Accompanying the exhibition is an 80-page fully color, hard-cover catalogue with essays by Rudolph and textile and fashion historian Cecilia Gunzburger Anderson. Each work in the exhibition is illustrated. Published by the Akron Art Museum, the book is available for purchase in the Museum Store for $29.95.

Order by calling the Museum Store at 330.376.9186 x280. Store hours are Wednesday - Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm, Thursday 11 am - 9 pm. If you are unable to reach a store employee, either during business hours or on days closed, leave a voice mail and someone will return your call as soon as possible.


Related Images

Gallery Installation Shots

"Show Your Pattern ID" Opening Party Pictures

This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum. Its presentation is made possible by a generous gifts from the Adam Fund of Akron Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Herb and Dianne Newman, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Toby D. Lewis Philanthropic Fund.

Related Links:

[ Press Release ]