Spinning Gossamer: Golden Spider Silk Textile Exhibit Opens at the Art Institute of Chicago

A spectacular golden textile, conceived and created by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley in Madagascar from silk thread collected from over one million Golden Orb spiders (Nephila madagascariensis), will go on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, the country’s second largest art museum. On special loan to the museum from Mssrs. Peers and Godley as part of the inaugural celebration of the museum’s new galleries devoted to African art and Indian art of the Americas, the Spider Silk textile will be displayed in Gallery 137 from June 3 through October. It will be the last opportunity to behold this unique work of art in the United States before it leaves the United States. Often referred to as the “8th Wonder of the World,” this extraordinary textile will be exhibited next at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London beginning January 2012.

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Chicago, Illinois (June 2, 2011) (PRWEB) June 04, 2011

A spectacular golden textile, conceived and created by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley in Madagascar from silk thread collected from over one million Golden Orb spiders (Nephila madagascariensis), will go on exhibit June 3 at the Art Institute of Chicago, the country’s second largest art museum. Having completed a very successful showing at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it was regarded as one of the most popular stand-alone exhibitions in recent years, the Spider Silk textile is now on special loan to the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the inaugural celebration of the museum’s new galleries devoted to African art and Indian art of the Americas. Following an extensive four-year planning, construction and reinstallation project, the 7,500 square foot state-of-the-art gallery space (located in the Art Institute’s lower Morton Wing) will house the Art Institute’s extensive collections and special loans.

A preview of the remarkable Spider Silk textile was the highlight of a special dinner on June 1 to celebrate the opening of the new galleries. Hosted by the Art Institute’s President Director James Cuno, Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, the celebration was attended by museum trustees, notable Chicagoans and other luminaries of extraordinary achievement.

Drawing on an eccentric and little known history of attempts to use the silk of spiders in weaving that began in early eighteenth-century France and then evolved in places as distant as Paraguay and Madagascar, Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley have revived and reinvented the process of collecting and carefully extracting by hand the lustrous, golden-colored silk from living spiders, which are then released into the wild. It took almost 5 years and thread from more than a million spiders for Mssrs. Peers and Godley to create this dazzling brocaded textile that is hand woven with the beautiful motifs and patterns of historic royal weaves from highland Madagascar.

To imagine a cloth made from the gossamer threads of spiders has long been the stuff of dreams and fairy tales. Mssrs. Peers and Godley have taken the impossible from the realm of myth and turned it into the warp and weft of a unique and fabulous cloth. Imbued with metaphor and poetry, with nightmare and phobia, with tales and myths that resonate within us all, this unique work of art encompasses an extraordinary history and contemporary resonance, embodying diverse meanings and associations that inspire and fire the imagination. This extraordinary work of art casts its own spell and fascination on the viewer, leaving no one indifferent.

On loan to the museum from Mssrs. Peers and Godley, the Spider Silk textile will be displayed in Gallery 137 from June 3 through October. It will be the last opportunity to behold this unique work in the United States before it leaves the continent. Sometimes referred to as the “8th Wonder of the World,” this extraordinary textile will be exhibited next at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London beginning January 2012.

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