New Look, Old Favorites
Open June 13, 2014
Ancient Egyptian, Asian, and Costume and Textiles Galleries
Member Preview Day and Celebration, June 12, 10 am-9 pm
For RISD Museum Members.
Design the Night celebration, June 19, 5-9 pm
Free, all welcome.
The RISD Museum welcomes visitors to an entire floor of newly renovated galleries for ancient Egyptian art, Asian art, and costume and textiles. The June 13, 2014, opening of these revitalized galleries marks the completion of the seven-year Radeke Restoration Project, which has transformed the Museum’s central Eliza G. Radeke Building to better feature an internationally acclaimed collection of art and design.
New presentations reflect the RISD Museum’s unique position as part of a community of artists, designers, and makers—exploring objects’ functions, cultural significance, and life history through examinations of the makers’ tools, techniques, and training. Fresh installations of ancient Egyptian and Asian art include two prominent visitor favorites: the mummy and coffin of the Egyptian priest Nesmin (ca. 250 BCE) and the monumental Japanese Dainichi Nyorai Buddha (ca. 1150-1200).
The new Angelo Donghia Costume and Textiles Gallery and Study Center provides dedicated, and long-awaited, spaces for showing selections from the Museum’s rarely seen 26,000 collection of costumes and textiles—which date from 1500 BCE to today. An 18-foot-long gallery display case features themed installations, while a separate classroom environment provides a place for students—and the public, when classes are not in session—to closely study and discuss collection objects and worldwide textile innovations.
The Donghia Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass, features floral textiles and clothing made in Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Persia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. A contemporary dress design by Junya Watanabe in a printed floral Liberty of London fabric shares the stage with a late-18th-century cotton gown printed by the Irish artist William Kilburn and a 19th-century Persian jacket. These, among many other botanically inspired treasures from the collection, reveal the importance and versatility of flowers in design language and highlight a network of design communication that remains important to this day.
Channel: The RISD Museum’s new audio program explores the multifaceted lives of objects—beginning with about 100 unique recordings by artists, designers, scholars, and students. Visitors can access these recordings on their mobile devices while at the Museum, or from home computers, at risdmuseum.org/channel.
Major donors include David Rockefeller, the Angelo Donghia Foundation, the Champlin Foundations, the Sumitomo Foundation, Hope and Michael Hudner, the RISD Museum Associates, the Bafflin Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.