Kathryn Hart - New Dawn - Venice Biennale

Artists from The Grotta Collection

  • WILTON, Connecticut
  • /
  • October 18, 2019

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Luba Krejci, Primitive Figures Birds and Insects, circa 1970s Knotted linen, 40.5” x 44.5” x 2”
photo by Tom Grotta

browngrotta arts is excited to announce Artists from The Grotta Collection, a new Fall exhibition highlighting important works of fiber and dimensional art by more than 40 artists collected by Sandy and Louis Grotta. Artists will include Toshiko Takaezu, Naomi Kobayashi, Norma Minkowitz, Axel Russmeyer and Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. A full artist list is found below.

The Grotta Collection represents 70 years of arts patronage and a unique kinship fostered by the Grottas among pioneering contemporary craft makers in the fields of textile art, sculpture, furniture, and jewelry. The Grottas have been long-time patrons of the Museum of Arts and Design and the American Craft Museum of New York.

The private collection is housed in an architecturally significant home designed by Richard Meier in the 1980s known as The Grotta House. Built of a balance of glass and concrete, the home was conceived as a living gallery for the collection, framing the objects within the open architecture. Nature, visible from many vantage points, also plays an essential role. The home is located in Harding Township, NJ.

"In quality and depth, the Grotta collection of contemporary craft outshines all others, including what is in museums," according to designer and curator Jack Lenor Larsen.

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The Grottas’ son, Tom Grotta, and his wife, Rhonda Brown, co-founded browngrotta arts in 1987. Since then, they have been continuing the guardianship and advancing the field of modern fiber art by curating and exhibiting renowned artists and publishing scholarly catalogs.  They represent/work with many of the artists who are part of The Grotta Collection. 

Artists from The Grotta Collection is a special Fall addition to browngrotta arts’ “Art in the Barn” programming - an annual 10-day exhibition held in the Spring at the couple’s private home - a two-story barn built in 1895 and expanded and contemporized by architect David Ling. Over 3500 square feet of space with a viewing vista of 55’ allows for experiencing works that reflect complex illusionary space. 

The range of works will include ceramic vessels, three-dimensional sculptures made of paper, wood, waxed linen, steel and lead and basket forms of bark and twigs, bamboo, willow, and cedar. A number of artists have created wall works of linen, viscose, steel, cotton, and horsehair. The techniques are as varied as the materials -- weaving, plaiting, knotting, ikat, tying, bundling, crochet and photography.

The exhibition also marks the release of a new book The Grotta Home by Richard Meier: a Marriage of Architecture and Craft (Arnoldsche, $85, 336 pp., 28 x 30 cm, approx. 300 illustrations, hardcover). The book celebrates the Grottas’ lifelong passion for craft art with 300 photographs of the private collection taken in its singular setting, photographed and designed by Tom Grotta. Accompanying essays by contributors to the craft movement including Glenn Adamson, Matthew Drutt, Sheila Hicks, Joseph Giovannini, Louis Grotta, Jack Lenor Larsen, John McQueen, Richard Meier, Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins, afford the reader a greater sense of how the Grottas have not simply acquired art but have immersed themselves in its making. A limited number of copies will be available at the exhibition and Tom will be available to sign them.

Participating artists in Artists in the Grotta Collection include: William Accorsi (US), Dorothy Gill Barnes (US), Birgit Birkkjaer (Denmark), Sara Brennan (UK), Mary Giles (US), Helena Hernmarck (Sweden/US), Marion Hildebrandt (US), Thomas Hucker(US), Kiyomi Iwata (Japan/US), Ferne Jacobs (US), Stéphanie Jacques (Belgium), Tamiko Kawata (Japan/US), Naomi Kobayashi (Japan), Markku Kosonen (Finland), Luba Krejci (Czechoslovakia), Lila Kulka (Poland), Kyoko Kumai (Japan), Gyöngy Laky (US), Kari Lønning (US), Dawn MacNutt (Canada), John McQueen (US), Mary Merkel-Hess (US), Norma Minkowitz (US), Judy Mulford (US), Leon and Sharon Niehues (US), Ed Rossbach (US), Mariette Rousseau-Vermette (Canada), Axel Russmeyer (Germany), Debra Sachs (US), Hisako Sekijima (Japan), Kay Sekimachi (US) , Sylvia Seventy (US), Hiroyuki Shindo (Japan), Karyl Sisson (US), Jin-Sook So (Korea), Aleksandra  Stoyanov (Ukraine/Israel), Toshiko Takaezu (US), Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan), Hideho Tanaka (Japan), Deborah Valoma (US), Katherine Westphal (US), Chang Yeonsoon (Korea), Masako Yoshida (Japan). 

The Artists Reception and Opening will take place at browngrotta arts on Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 1pm-6pm. 

The exhibition will be on view from November 1-10, 2019, and is open to the public from 10am-5pm daily. browngrotta arts is located at 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT, accessible from New York via Metro North on the New Haven Line to South Norwalk transferring to the Danbury Line to Wilton Station. For driving directions click here.  

All photos by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts. Not to be published without prior permission. High res. images available upon request.

For all media inquiries, contact State Public Relations at (646) 714 - 2520 or browngrotta@statepr.com. 




About Sandy and Louis Grotta

A celebrated interior designer and art curator, Sandy Grotta met her husband, Lou, at the University of Michigan in 1953. After enrolling in an art history course together, the Grotta’s quickly discovered their mutual admiration for contemporary architecture. Inspired by the artwork of such renowned craftsmen as furniture makers Joyce and Edgar Anderson, ceramist Toshiko Takaezu, Northwest Coast artist Chief Richard Lelooska, and textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen Sandy completely renovated the Grotta’s first home by replacing family antiques with a new assortment of contemporary art pieces and furniture. During the construction of The Grotta House, in the 1980s, Sandy and Lou shared curatorial duties and acquired new acquisitions to enhance the Grotta’s existing collection of international art. 

Lou’s interest in modern architecture and Scandinavian art stems back to his early years as a student at the University of Michigan. In the early 80s, Lou reunited with his summer camp friend,  Richard Meier, and despite some differences of opinion concerning craft materials, they decided to collaborate on the creation of The Grotta House. Over a span of five years, they worked together to design and build a house that incorporated the Grottas’ unique appreciation for contemporary art and Meier’s formal elements of design.

Today, Lou and Sandy continue their role as consummate collectors, hunting down dimensional art, textile art, and sculptures that reflect the natural elements of each contemporary art form. They are long-time patrons of the Museum of Arts in Design and the American Craft Museum in New York.

About browngrotta arts 
For over 30 years, browngrotta arts has been advancing the field of contemporary fiber arts by curating and exhibiting renowned contemporary artists who celebrate the exploration of fiber art techniques and drive the unique possibilities of soft materials. Representing many of the artists who have helped define modern fiber art since the 1950s, browngrotta arts reflects the cultivated eye and intellect of its directors, husband and wife team, Tom Grotta and Rhonda Brown.

Founded in 1987 in Wilton, Connecticut, browngrotta arts showcases unique sculptural and mixed media works with an emphasis on concept, supported by technique. The focus of the work is on the materials and the technical mastery of the artist as intrinsic to the significance of the work, prioritizing aesthetic value over utility. Museum-quality artworks by more than 100 international artists are represented through art catalogs, art fairs, co-partnered exhibits at museums, retail spaces, and an online gallery.

Each Spring, the couple opens their private home - a two-story barn built in 1895 expanded and contemporized by architect David Ling in 2000 - for “Art in the Barn”, a unique annual salon-style exhibition for 10 days. Over 3500-square feet of space with a viewing vista of 55’ allows for experiencing works that reflect complex illusionary space. The 21’  high ceilings permit the installation of tall sculptures and two free-standing walls enable dramatically shaped fiber structures best hung off the wall. The living environment also grants the artwork to be shown in situ. 

browngrotta arts has published nearly 50 art catalogs and placed works in private and corporate collections in the US and abroad, including the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Arts and Design, Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum. They also regularly work with architects and interior designers offering consultation for commissioned artworks and site-specific installation for commercial and residential spaces. A selection of works is on view and available for sales inquiries at browngrotta.com.

Tom Grotta graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a fine arts degree in photography. He has been recognized for his extensive knowledge of contemporary art textiles and fiber sculpture and his photography of fiber art. He has lectured on these subjects at museums and art programs in New York, California, Hawaii and elsewhere. Grotta’s art photographs are included in several private collections, that of the Serralves Museum of Art in Portugal and numerous magazines and books, including Toshiko Takaezu: Earth and Bloom (University of Hawaii Press, 2007), California's Designing Women 1896-1986 (Museum of California Design, 2013), Fiber Sculpture, 1960 - Present (Prestel, 2014), Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (University of North Carolina Press, 2010) and Tapestry: A Woven Narrative (Black Dog Publishing, 2012).

Rhonda Brown works as an attorney for a publishing company in Manhattan and at browngrotta arts, managing editor for the catalogs, its blog www.arttextstyle.com, and online content. She is the co-author of Making Room: Strategies for Small Spaces (Perigee, 1983). Her writing on textile arts has appeared in several exhibition catalogs and publications including selvedge; Fiberarts;  NBO Quarterly Review and Weston.

For more information, visit www.browngrotta.com

browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road
Wilton, Connecticut
art@browngrotta.com
2038340623
http://www.browngrotta.com

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