The Fabric Workshop and Museum Announces Karen Patterson as Curator

Visual Arts

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Patterson as its new Curator. She will be the first to hold the title in FWM’s 42-year history and joins the museum after seven years at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC), where she currently serves as Senior Curator. “Karen Patterson is an ideal fit for this position, coming from another process-oriented institution focused on both the creation and exhibition of contemporary works,” says Executive Director Susan Lubowsky Talbott. “She has championed the work of a diverse group of artists and we are thrilled to welcome her to further the creative and cultural impact of FWM.”

During her tenure at JMKAC, Ms. Patterson curated over forty exhibitions and site-specific installations, bridging a multifaceted program featuring unique collections, an ambitious contemporary art program, and a celebrated residency program. Recent highlights include Makeshift, a 2018 collaboration with Michelle Grabner and the largest of four exhibitions featured as part of the Live/Work series—also highlighting the work of Philadelphia artist Virgil Marti. The Road Less Traveled, another collaborative and multi-tiered collection-based exhibition series, received praise from Hyperallergic as the top exhibition of 2017.

“I see the Fabric Workshop and Museum as an artist-centered powerhouse of experimentation, collaboration, education, and presentation and am excited to contribute to that legacy,” says Patterson. “I work with a strong desire to elevate the public’s understanding of the creative process and a belief that art can be anchored in a variety of societal discourses. I’m excited to share those ideas with the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the city of Philadelphia.”

Ms. Patterson’s exhibitions have received critical attention in numerous publications including Artforum, Hyperallergic, and The Huffington Post, celebrating her work with emerging, mid-career and established artists. Ebony G. Patterson: Dead Treez, curated by Ms. Patterson and debuted at JMKAC in 2015, also traveled to the Museum of Arts and Design to mark the artist’s first solo New York museum show. Most recently, Ms. Patterson curated Mise-en-Scène, the exhibition series currently on view at JMKAC featuring contemporary artists and installations that approach the world as a stage. Forthcoming contributions include an essay on iconic fiber artist and former FWM Artist-in-Residence Lenore Tawney for Mirror of the Universe.

Ms. Patterson holds a Bachelor of Arts in folklore studies from Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, and a Masters of Art Administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining JMKAC, she co-founded a 12-hour public art festival, Nocturne: Art at Night, in Nova Scotia.

About the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Founded in 1977, FWM both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large scale exhibitions, installations, and performative works, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Contact: David Simantov