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High Fashion Design “Carries” Glitz and Glamour to Premier Contemporary Crafts Museum: Pioneer handbag designer featured in upcoming exhibitions

High Fashion Design “Carries” Glitz and Glamour to Premier Contemporary Crafts Museum: Pioneer handbag designer featured in upcoming exhibitions










(PRWEB) April 14, 2005

Through August of 2005, the Racine Art Museum will focus its considerable crafts expertise on the world of fashion and luxury with three related exhibitions: "Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber"; "The Carry-ons: Handbags by Artists", and "Glitz!!!!: Luster and Luxe in RAM’s Collection". These shows demonstrate the role of craftsmanship and glamour in fashion items and functional art objects that are coveted by every woman and appreciated by everyone.

"Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber"

Through August 14, 2005 RAM is the only Midwest venue to host this exhibition which presents a comprehensive survey of designer Judith Leiber’s career and art. For more than 30 years, a Judith Leiber handbag has stood for the ultimate in craftsmanship and design. It has become an American icon of fashion and style and has evolved into a coveted status object for celebrities, socialites and collectors. Yet beyond the glamour and celebrity, Judith Leiber handbags also stand as remarkable works of art. "Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber" celebrates Leiber’s extraordinary artistic achievement by showcasing her creative genius and influence on nearly four decades of fashion.

Organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., "Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber" features 163 bags and includes a range of work from the first beaded bag, created in 1967, to more recent designs. Judith Leiber bags are inspired by a variety of sources, including Asian culture, nature, Hollywood and museum objects. They have graced the arms of numerous First Ladies, including Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton and, most recently, Laura Bush; several of these bags appear in the show.

“Judith Leiber’s handbags are known throughout the world for their craftsmanship and their distinct conceptual designs. Because of these qualities, they go beyond the role of accessory to that of a collectible art object”, says Bruce W. Pepich, Executive Director and Curator of Collections at RAM. “Leiber has made a unique contribution to the field of fashion. Her lively works sparkle in appearance and are also alive with witty observations. Her pioneering work has created an entire new role for the handbag as object of contemplation and commentator on culture. RAM is extremely pleased to serve as the exclusive Midwest host to this exhibition.”

"The Carry-Ons: Handbags by Artists"

Through September 11, 2005 As an introduction to the different approaches artists are taking to creating functional accessories that are also works of art, this exhibition includes recent handbags in a variety of media such as fiber, leather, metal and polymer clay. Among those featured are works by contemporary American artists, Kathleen Dustin, Michael and Michelle LaLonde, Bennett Liberty and Ellen Stern, who are nationally known for imaginative handbags.

"Glitz!!!: Luster and Luxe in RAM’s Collection"

Through September 11, 2005 Organized by RAM, this show represents works in all media from its permanent collection that deal with luxury and use of precious materials. Art has often been associated with status, honor and privilege whether created for private patrons, religious ceremony or governmental use. Contemporary artists continue to participate in this tradition, creating jewelry and household objects in precious materials. Some artists embody luxury in their works not through the materials used, but through the careful attention lavished on the artwork to confer importance and status. Others critique or play off of the tradition of luxury and status, creating works that cause a viewer to develop new associations for materials like gold, beads and fine fabrics.

"Fashioning Art: Handbags by Judith Leiber" is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The presentation of these exhibitions at the Racine Art Museum has been funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin; through the sponsorship of All Saints Healthcare, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Twin Disc, Inc.; and with gifts from members of the RAM Society.

Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum, are open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon – 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. A suggested admission fee of $ 5 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

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