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World-Class Art at the American Textile History Museum

Arts

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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

When you hear the names Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, you probably don’t think “dresses.”

Picasso, one of the greatest artists in European history, is much better known for his groundbreaking works like Guernica, while Warhol, one of America’s most iconic 20th-century artists, is far more widely recognized for his Campbell’s soup cans.

In fact, these two titans experimented with a variety of media, as did a number of other leading artists, including Salvador Dali, Winslow Homer, Marc Chagall, Sonia Delaunay and Henri Matisse.

And this winter, you can see all of their work in one place: the Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol exhibit at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Textile Museum

Photo: One of many antique spinners at the museum

As Massachusetts residents and history aficionados are already likely aware, the city of Lowell played a pivotal role in the America Industrial Revolution. Lowell was the country’s first large-scale factory town, a heritage that is now commemorated by the Smithsonian-affiliated American Textile History Museum.

In late November of 2014, Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol opened up at the museum, giving visitors a truly unique opportunity to see creations from some of history’s most talented painters, printmakers and sculptors through March of 2015. Picasso to Warhol traces the history of 20th-century art through textiles, as many of the pieces feature elements of Cubism, Constructivism, Surrealism and other popular art movements.

Number, Please?

A silk scarf titled “Number, Please?” created by Salvador Dali via Facebook

In total, the exhibit brings together more than 200 rare works from leading artists around the world; interestingly, these offerings were intended to be practical and functional in the way that many of their masterpieces were not.

The Picasso to Warhol collection encompasses ties, dresses, rugs, bed sheets and other more ordinary items, which were also an effort by the artists to make their work less elitist and available to people of modest means. In a superlative aside, the museum website notes that Picasso allowed his art to be printed on just about any material, but drew the line at upholstery and sofas, because, “Picassos may be leaned against, not sat on.”

Toros y Torreros

Toros y Torreros by Pablo Picasso via Facebook

When it comes to planning a visit, you can find everything that you need to know here. The museum’s hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $8 at most, with discounts available seniors and children. The American Textile History Museum is easy to find off Interstate-495 and the website can supply you with directions, too.

Naturally, with everything else that there is to do in Lowell and the surrounding area, you might as well make it an overnight or two. If you’d like to put your feet up near the museum, the Courtyard by Marriott Boston Lowell/Chelmsford and UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center are right in the area.

To learn more about what the Massachusetts art scene has to offer in 2015, click here. To take a deeper dive into Massachusetts history and how you can experience it, just click here.

What’s one unique museum exhibit that you’ve seen? Tell us below in the comments!

Photo at the top via the American Textile History Museum on Facebook

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