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The Fabric Workshop and Museum Unveils Ann Hamilton’s habitus

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Ann Hamilton, ‘habitus,’ 2016. Installation at Municipal Pier 9, made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo credit: Thibault Jeanson

Ann Hamilton’s latest large-scale installation transforms Philadelphia’s Municipal Pier 9 through Monday October 10 and three floors of The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) through early January.

The dual-sited habitus invites social interaction and reciprocity, as visitors to the venerable, 55-000 sq. ft. pier are encouraged to operate rope pulleys that animate a dozen huge, circular curtains. The swirling field of movement that results is as light and graceful as a ballroom.

A ten-minute drive away, hundreds of objects borrowed by the artist from collections around the Philadelphia area speak eloquently of individual hands and minds. Here are commonplace books, antique blankets, textile sample books, needlework portfolios and fabric swatches.

Two long walls are lined with pages containing literary passages pertaining to the social and material life of cloth, offering the visitor an opportunity to make her own commonplace book. Digital works created by Hamilton are installed throughout, including a monumental diptych of a tiny red doll’s coat.

“The Fabric Workshop and Museum has collaborated with Ann twice before, including her project for the Venice Biennale in 1999. Along with those, habitus is surely one of the most memorable works to grow out of our Artist-in-Residence Program,” says Susan Lubowsky Talbott, interim executive director.

Major support for Ann Hamilton: habitus has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Coby Foundation, Ltd., the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shipley-Miller Foundation, and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.