This is the LAST weekend to see the work of legendary textile designer Sheila Hicks at The Mint Museum Uptown at the Levine Center for the Arts.  Sheila Hicks: 50 Years is the first museum retrospective devoted to this iconic artist. The exhibit includes 100 works that range from her earliest works in the the late 1950s to her most recent creation- a site specific installation in the Morrison Atrium at the Mint Museum.

<> </>Bamian (Banyan) 1968/2001
Wool, Wool twisted with Acrylic
102 3/8” by 102 3/8”
Photo by Bastiaan van den Berg

In a 2004 interview from the Archives of American Art, Sheila Hicks said “Textiles have been relegated to a secondary role in our society, to a material that was either functional or decorative. I wanted to give it another status and show what an artist can do with these incredible materials.”   Her work takes elements from painting, sculpture, weaving, design and drawing and elevates the threads into transcendental and sublime creations.  Ms. Hicks has united the domains of art and craft and helped redefine the field of contemporary art making.

Sheila Hicks
Photo by Massimo Vignelli Associates

According to the Mint’s biography of Sheila Hicks, she was “born in Hastings, Nebraska.  She received her BFA and MFA degrees from Yale and studied painting with master teacher and theorist Josef Albers. She describes her practice of “linear thinking” and “composing texture” reflects the Bauhaus tradition of finding the expressive voices of different materials and dynamic interactions of color.”

Indian dyes used to color the threads
Photo from Wikipedia

The work of Sheila Hicks is incredibly labor intensive. She has a large team of assistants that she oversees from the intial design concept to the final installation.  Because of this, she is regarded as a teacher and mentor to many generations of artists and designers. The assistants help dye the yarns, wrap them around various found objects from newspapers to PVC pipes.

La Fenetre II, 2009
Cotton, bamboo, linen and silk
10 3/4” by 10 1/4”
Thread wrapped around found objects
such as newspapers, socks, and discarded clothing
The Principal Wife, 1968
Linen, rayon, acrylic yarns
100” by 80” by 8”


May I Have This Dance?, 2002-2003
Commissioned by Target Corporation for
thier Minneapolis Headquarters


Sheila Hicks with her Work in Progress
at the Mint Museum

This is the 4th variation of this particular work of Sheila Hicks. She has the amazing ability to deconstruct her own works and reuse the elements to create another masterpiece that marries the artwork to the architecture. Target selected the Mint Museum over several other nationally acclaimed museums as the recipient of this monumental work of art. It is placed at the heart of the museum and viewers can interact with it on every level, see it from many vantage points, and enjoy this generous gift made to our very own Mint Museum. Fortunately, this work of art will stay with us even though we sadly say goodbye to the exhibition of the talented Ms. Hicks.

Catalogue available at the Mint Museum Shops


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