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The Minnesota Daily

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St. Paul campus’ Goldstein museum shows textile exhibition

More than 180 pairs of eyes welcomed the array of colors in the small gallery room Sunday afternoon, happy to break the winter’s monochromatic gloom of gray.

Jack Lenor Larsen’s travels around the world inspired the textile designer to create the patterns and designs found on his fabric creations.

And beginning Sunday, The Goldstein: A Museum of Design displayed some of his life’s work. The exhibition, “Inspirations of an Innovator: Jack Lenor Larsen,” will run until Feb. 3 in the St. Paul campus museum.

“It’s obviously terrifically exciting because it represents the accumulation of three years of work for us,” said Lindsay Shen, director of the Goldstein museum.

Larsen is a renowned modern textile designer known for his innovative fabric designs.

He was one of the first designers to come out with stretch fabric, as well as the first printed velvet.

“We’re just here to celebrate the work of Jack Lenor Larsen,” said guest curator and University interior design professor Stephanie Watson. “He did so much for fiber technology and fiber structure.”

Interior design students came to learn about the prominent industry professional, as well as to gain some inspiration.

“I want to find new things that inspire me,” said Asuka Wang, an interior design junior.

Angie Emeott, an interior design junior, has a special connection with Lerner.

Not only has she been cataloging Larsen’s archives at Anderson Library since May 2000, she is also the recipient of a Colefax and Fowler scholarship awarded in Larsen’s name.

“On one hand, it’s really neat to see the things I’ve been touching and feeling,” Emeott said at the reception.

“On the other, I’ve been working so closely with it, it’s not as much fun as the first time I saw it,” she said.

Larsen also came to the exhibition’s opening.

He said he hopes the display will show students alternatives to
conventional lifestyles, which he defined as middle-class ideas of what one should do.

“Today you can do anything and be anyone, but people are tied down with what they think they should be doing instead of what they want to do,” Larsen said.

“I’ve never worked; I’ve played hard,” he said. “I’ve done exactly what I like to do best.”

Larsen founded Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc., in 1953, and for the next 45 years the company made advances in textile technology and interior design fabrics.

When the English firm Colefax and Fowler Group Plc. purchased the company in 1997, the archives were eventually donated to the University and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

The partners divided more than 25,000 samples from more than 1,200 textile designs and additional printed materials among three institutions, including the Goldstein museum.

The museum, which promotes design education, is showcasing drawings, plans and other design materials, as well as fabric samples.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is featuring the entire textile collection of the Larsen line from the past 45 years, while the University’s Manuscripts Division in Anderson Library houses the correspondence and business records of the
company.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful exhibit,” said Shirley Baugher, dean of the College of Human Ecology. “His work represents the passion of a life career – that’s pretty
powerful.”

Pamela Steinle welcomes comments at [email protected]

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