Rare Collection of Woven Sculptures and Baskets Donated to Museum of Arts and Design

Traditional and Avant-Garde Baskets from Around the World On View This March in "Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection"

New York, NY (February 2, 2010)

A rare collection of contemporary baskets including functional vessels as well as expressive works that challenge traditional definitions of basketry, has been promised to the Museum of Arts and Design by Sara and David Lieberman. With their passion for collecting contemporary craft and their exceptional openness to new forms and ideas, the Liebermans have assembled one of the best compilations of contemporary baskets in the country. Their collection will be presented for the first time in New York in the exhibition Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection, from March 16, 2010 and through September 12, 2010 at the Museum of Arts and Design.

“We are thrilled and grateful to be receiving this major gift from Sara and David Lieberman. Their collection is exceptional in its distinction and quality,” states Holly Hotchner the Museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “The Lieberman collection offers an expansive overview of the current level of innovation and experimentation in the field. This material gets right to the heart of the intersection between craft, art, and design.”

Intertwined provides an international overview of an art form that is a fascinating blend of ancient and contemporary. The exhibition includes more than 70 traditional and non-traditional works, tracing the evolution of the basket from a useful object to a work of art that can have expressive, sculptural, and conceptual significance. The baskets utilize a range of materials from traditional organic fibers to surprising media such as zippers and fish skins.

Sara Lieberman states, “The field of contemporary basketry continues to interest and intrigue us. Talented artists working with a wide variety of material, both new and traditional, transform utilitarian containers into sculpture. Forms shrink or grow in size; colors remain muted or enliven with bold hues; and extraordinary skill combines with imagination, political and social commentary, playfulness, and great beauty. Is it any wonder that we love baskets?”

Sara and David Lieberman’s interest in baskets has coincided with a fifteen-year period of innovation and energy in the field. They first began acquiring baskets for their function and grounding in ancient traditions, but soon their selections included new works of great “vitality and vigor” that were more about “expression and communication” rather than function. The Lieberman collection now includes work by Ed Rossbach, Katherine Westphal, Sally Black, Kiyomi Iwata, Kazuaki Honma, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Carol Eckert, John McQueen, Elsie Holiday, Ferne Jacobs, Norma Minkowitz, Fran Reed, Lisa Telford, Kay Kahn, and many more.

David Revere McFadden, MAD Chief Curator, said, “People will be surprised to see such an incredible diversity of approaches to this ancient art forms. The Lieberman collection furthers MAD’s focus on materials and process, and the many ways in which tradition is being explored and renovated in the work of artists around the world.”

The collection also includes multiple works by John McQueen, whose background is in sculpture and who incorporates large figurative forms and text; Jane Sauer, who has championed the field; Gyöngy Laky, who brings a theoretical edge to the work; and John Garrett, who has been a noted experimenter with industrial materials. The Liebermans have also collected Japanese bamboo works and those made by Native American artists.

Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection is organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona, and curated by Senior Curator Heather S. Lineberry and Jane Sauer, nationally known basket maker and scholar. The exhibition is coordinated at MAD by Assistant Curator Laura Stern. The presentation of the exhibition at MAD is made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Inner Circle, a leadership Museum support group.

Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection is accompanied by a 48-page fully-illustrated color catalog which includes an essay by nationally-known curator and scholar Kenneth R. Trapp, and a short piece by artist Ferne Jacobs.

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craftsmanship, art, and design intersect in the visual arts today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the handmade to cutting edge technologies.

The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by creative and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day.

At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum’s dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.


Claire Laporte
Chief External Affairs Officer

Christina Allan
Communications Associate

Tel: 212.299.7737
Email: press@madmuseum.org