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Design Works of Bedford Stuyvesant

DATES May 01, 1974 through June 09, 1974
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  • April 1, 1974 An exhibition of African motif, American designed textiles from the Bedford-Stuyvesant Design Works will open to the public in the Community Gallery of The Brooklyn Museum May 1, and will remain on view through June 9.

    The Design Works was established in 1969, at the express suggestion of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as part of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a community revitalization project conceived and begun earlier by the late Robert F. Kennedy. Today, the Design Works is a highly successful commercial and creative enterprise, and a veritable showcase of community spirit and talents.

    Classic African motifs form the basis for the bold, brilliantly colored printed fabrics of the Design Works, and to illustrate these sources of inspiration, a selection of objects from the Museum’s own extensive African collection will be included in the exhibition.

    The art of Benin, a kingdom of ancient Nigeria with a history spanning more than five centuries, served as the inspirational source of the first Design Works collection. A bronze Benin plaque showing a large fish was the basis for a variety of designs which adapted different sizes of scales and a flower motif which appears in the background of the plaque. Other ideas have developed from Africa’s rich variety of flora and fauna; i. e., lilies, banana leaves and butterflies. One of the more recent collections, the Bakuba collection, utilizes the florals, geometrics, and ceremonial cloths of the Bakuba nation, an ancient kingdom from the Congo, whose history dates back to the 7th century B. C.

    Once the classic African motif has been selected and researched, and the design adaptation executed, the textiles are then hand silk-screened, a painstaking process, but one which allows for a wide range of bold and vivid colors. Both for this and for the strikingly original motif adaptations, the Design Works has received international recognition. Exhibitions of its textiles have taken place in Paris; at the Field Museum in Chicago, and in numerous other museums throughout the United States.

    To launch this exhibition, a gala preview and fashion show will take place at the Museum on Tuesday evening, April 30, from 7:00 to 9:30 p. m. For this occasion, several top New York designers, i. e., Pauline Trigere, Betsey Johnson, and Willi Smith, and students from the Fashion Institute of Technology have created fashions using Design Works textiles.

    Photographs on request.

    Special Press and Invitational Preview: April 30, 7:00 to 9:30 p. m.

    Located on Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, the Museum is easily reached by public transportation. There is a 7th Avenue-IRT station - EASTERN PARKWAY-BROOKLYN MUSEUM - located directly in front of the building. Ample parking is provided in the rear to accommodate visitors. Hours: Wed. thru Sat. 10:00 a. m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sun. 11:00 a. m. to 5:00 p. m. Closed Monday & Tues. Admission to the Museum is free.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1974, 025-26.
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