Textiles, Earth, and Alchemy: MassArt Opens Fall 2012 Exhibits

Zandra Rhodes Collection. Multi-print white-and-black silk chiffon kaftan, Spring/Summer 2007. (Photo © Charles Parker, courtesy of MassArt)

What did Princess Diana, Jacqueline Onassis, and Elizabeth Taylor have in common? Aside from their worldly positions of fortune and fame, they were also each fabulously dressed in world-renowned British designer Zandra Rhodes’ eye-popping, whimsical works. Rhodes, who publicly unveiled her first solo collection in 1969, currently has more than 40 of her creations showcased at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Bakalar Gallery. The exhibit, Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles, marks her first East Coast solo display and runs until December 1. Visitors will see Rhodes’ distinctive transitions in her garments and accessories from the ’60s through ’80s, as her techniques and tastes notably changed alongside the happenings of the decades.

Non-fashion fanatics might better enjoy Earth & Alchemy, another fall 2012 MassArt exhibition that features the modern-day ceramic works of several talented artists and is overseen by Lisa Tung, who was named Best Curator in our Best of Boston 2012 issue. While clay art may date back to ancient times, the creators of Earth & Alchemy’s contemporary pieces take advantage of innovative, seemingly easy methods (i.e. oven-baked clay decorated with house paints) and manage to craft brilliantly intricate objects (your average Joe couldn’t whip these up at home). The celebrated clay masters also incorporate a range of broader ideas, among which include social activism and humor. Earth & Alchemy is located in the Stephen D. Paine Gallery at MassArt and will remain open until November 24.

The Bakalar & Paine Galleries are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Massachusetts College of Art & Design, 621 Huntington Ave., 617-879-7333, massart.edu.