If ornament is a crime…

“If ornament is, as Adolf Loos proposed, a crime, then this piece of lace from Brussels surely qualifies as bloody murder.” (quote from SAGMEISTER & WALSH: Beauty)


And what a beautiful antique piece of lace it is, with extremely fine threads woven into a complex and intricate design, which defies comprehension.
Was it created by hands of women or angels?

This lace is a part of current exhibition in MAK, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, which showcases a selection of their famous collection of handmade lace and Burano glass, all in one room. There are many more rooms in this museum, of course, full of exquisitely crafted items, and they are all connected by a current exhibition project, SAGMEISTER & WALSH: Beauty

Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh make a visually impressive multimedia plea for us to take delight in beauty. Spreading across the entire MAK, their exhibition investigates why people feel attracted to beauty, how they can deal with it, and which positive effects beauty can have. With the aid of examples from the fields of graphic design, product design, architecture, and city planning, Sagmeister & Walsh demonstrate that beautiful objects, buildings, and strategies are not only more pleasing, but actually more effective, and that form does not merely follow function, but in many cases actually is the function.”  ( excerpt from MAK website )

The exhibition proposes what all lacemakers know by heart, that beauty is more than just beauty. After many years and many exhibitions that denied and deconstructed beauty, it is truly refreshing to witness such affirmation, and envision what could happen if more people acknowledge value of beautifully handcrafted items…

It could start a new Renaissance of fine crafts…

It could bring back the spirit of Art Nouveau…

It could attract young generations to learning and creating…

And it could give a new impetus to lacemakers to spend more time with lace and take all that beauty in, live it and give it back to the world. 

If you happen to be in Vienna before March 31, 2019 do not miss this exhibition. It recognizes lace not only for its history, ingenuity and craftsmanship, but for its beauty which is timeless and priceless.

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Lace lives in Europe, and I am always happy to discover much of it in expected, as well as unexpected places: museums, lace supply stores, churches, in a small town library and on my mom’s dining table…

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But because it is 2018, Europe is not the only place where to look for lace exhibits.

The Hunterdon Museum in Clinton, New Jersey, is hosting a ground-breaking show: LACE not Lace, Contemporary Fiber Art from Lacemaking Techniques. 

If you can’t visit the exhibition, which ends on January 6th, 2019, you can read about it in LACE not Lace Catalogue, published in conjunction.

I just received my copy and it has been a pleasure to read it. Besides insightful articles by curator Devon Thein, and lace artists Lieve Jerger and Dagmar Beckel-Machyckova, the catalogue contains statements of all 28 lace artists, together with images of their lace works. Completed by helpful glossary and extended bibliography, it is a worthy publication, a rare in its scope of documenting contemporary handmade bobbin and needle lace art.

Buying the catalogue directly from Hunterdon Museum will support the institution that chose to support lace. The catalogue price is US$30.

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Let’s keep making, celebrating and supporting lace… crime or virtue, this world needs more ornaments and more beauty!

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