The work of textile artist Sheila Hicks will be on display now through June 5 as part of a major retrospective at the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, Netherlands. Called “Why Not?” the exhibition will include 50 pieces by the internationally renowned American artist spanning seven decades and will include massive, hand-woven wall hangings; sculptures; sketches; and personal documents.
Hicks has had a close relationship with the Netherlands since 1974, when she had her first major solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Over the years she has made frequent visits to the European country, forming working relationships with the late gallery owner Cora de Vries and the late designer Benno Premsela. In 1975 she created a series of wall hangings entitled “Homage to Kho Liang Ie” for the departure hall of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which are included in the retrospective. In addition, Hicks created a new piece during her time in Guatemala that she wove especially for the exhibition titled “Struggle to Surface,” which she made using linen, wool, and cotton.
“[Sheila] told me to reserve a space in the museum for a new work,” says Victoria Anastasyadis, the museum’s junior curator. “She gave me a rough measurement of six meters, and started weaving the piece by hand and later had it FedExed to the museum.”
Other notable pieces on display include “Wil Bertheux,” a textile Hicks made using red silk and wool, and “Trapèze de Cristobal,” a free-hanging sculpture of tangled red and blue wool that drops from the ceiling and pools onto the floor. But what makes the piece particularly intriguing is its backstory.
“When she was working on it, her son Cristobal would climb up it when it was hanging in their terrace,” Anastasyadis says.
“Why Not?” will be on display now through June 5.