If there has ever been a more opportune time to visit the American Museum in Britain, it is now. The Museum opened for 2017 with a sparkling preview of its two exhibitions for this year – 1920’s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs and Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern.
1920’s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs is a welcome reminder of the creative American energy that sent cultural shockwaves around the world in the 1920’s. A glittering display of haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion of the period is shown alongside James Abbe’s wonderful photographs, with films and literature of the period featured as well.
A rich and varied mixture of people including press, representatives from local business, universities, bloggers and various members of the community gathered for a guided tour, talks and lunch. The Museum’s Director, Richard Wendorf, opened the event with the exhibition’s designers, Celia Joicey and Dennis Nothdruft from the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London, both speaking of their delight that this exhibition has come to Bath.
The second exhibition – Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern – is a wonderful example of an artist finding a new way of interpreting a traditional form. American Joyce Petschek – who lives in Tuscany and London – was originally a Bargello needlepoint expert, working with a mathematical pattern to create motifs. This exhibition shows her breaking away from the rigid confines and creating pieces of extraordinary beauty and skill.
The American Museum in Britain is unique as it is the only museum outside the United States showcasing the achievements of Americans in the decorative arts. The permanent collection includes over two hundred historic American quilts, exceptional pieces of Shaker furniture, Native American objects, and two hundred historical maps of the New World. In addition visitors can explore the extensive grounds and enjoy spectacular views from the cafe terrace.