Repair and Design Futures

5 October 2018–30 June 2019

Exhibition Overview


Ghanaian, Fugu (man’s robe), mid-1900s. Museum purchase: Museum Works of Art Fund, by exchang. Japanese, Noragi (workcoat), mid-1800s. Elizabeth T. and Dorothy N. Casey Fund. dosa, Travel Coat, 2014. Edgar J. Lownes Fund. G-Star RAW, Jeans, ca. 2005. Proposed: Gift of Anne Marika Verploegh Chassé. B. Earley, Lace Blouse (Top 100 Recycled Shirts Project), 2008. Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund.

A humble act first born of necessity, repair is an expression of resistance to the unmaking of our world and the environment. Repair and Design Futures is a multidisciplinary exhibition and programming series that investigates mending as material intervention, metaphor, and as a call to action. In this context, repair is framed as a useful exercise applied to beloved textiles and as a global, socially engaged practice within contemporary art and design culture, addressing environmental and sociopolitical ruptures. Objects range from Japanese boro garments and Indian Kutch quilts to a hunter’s ensemble from Mali, a Naskapi caribou coat, Swiss worker’s trousers, and fashionable and utilitarian American clothing. Close examination of darns, patches, and stabilized areas of these emotive, often everyday objects acts as a springboard to considering and discussing the ways in which mending can serve as a visual and emotional aid to socially engaged design thinking.

(Photo courtesy of RISD.)

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