Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America

Gullah basket
Spring 2017

Rooted, Revived Reinvented: Basketry in America

January 28-May 14, 2017

Professor Kristin Schwain is co-curator with Professor Jo Stealey, Department of Art, of the exhibition "Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America" now on display at the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology.

This exhibition visually chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, European, and African traditions to its contemporary presence in the fine art and craft worlds. The baskets convey meaning and interpret American life through the artists’ choices of materials; the techniques and forms they select; and the colors, designs, patterns, and textures they employ.

Historical baskets were rooted in local landscapes and shaped by cultural traditions. The rise of the industrial revolution and mass production at the end of the nineteenth century led basket makers to create works for new audiences and markets, including tourists, collectors and fine art museums. Today the story continues. Some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries. Others combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Still others challenge viewers’ expectations by experimenting with form, materials, and scale.

This exhibition is divided into 5 sections: Cultural Origins, New Basketry, Living Traditions, Basket as Vessel, and Beyond the Basket.

" For further information and resources, see the exhibition website here.