Skip to Main Content

Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction

Now on View

March 17 – July 28, 2024
East Building, Concourse Galleries

This transformative exhibition explores how abstract art and woven textiles have intertwined over the past hundred years.

In the 20th century, textiles have often been considered lesser—as applied art, women’s work, or domestic craft. Woven Histories challenges the hierarchies that often separate textiles from fine arts. Putting into dialogue some 160 works by more than 50 creators from across generations and continents, the exhibition explores the contributions of weaving and related techniques to abstraction, modernism’s preeminent art form.  

See a variety of textile techniques including weaving, knitting, netting, knotting, and felting. Understand the wide-ranging reasons artists from Anni Albers to Rosemarie Trockel and Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians/Cherokee Nation) have engaged with this art form. Some seek to effect social change, others to address political issues. Engaging with textiles as subject, material, and technique, others revitalize abstraction’s formal conventions or critique its patriarchal history and gendered identity. 

Explore this overlooked thread of art history that centers new voices: creators once marginalized for their gender, race, or class. 

Explore Selected Works

Dive Deeper


The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The exhibition is curated by Lynne Cooke, senior curator in the department of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art.

Other venues
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 17, 2023–January 21, 2024
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, November 8, 2024–March 2, 2025
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 20–September 13, 2025

The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation provided major support for the exhibition. 

Additional funding is also provided by the Director’s Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

Admission is always free and passes are not required

Banner detail: Marilou Schultz (Navajo/Diné), Replica of a Chip, 1994, wool, American Indian Science and Engineering Society