With the opening of the new galleries of African art and Indian art of the Americas, we've been able to showcase not only many pieces from our permanent collection that have never been on view, but also several spectacular loans. And one of the most spectacular—and one that required the work of 80 people and over a million spiders—is the spider-silk textile in the African art galleries. This Malagasy textile is made from the silk of the native Golden Orb Spider, a material that is extremely elastic and stronger than kevlar. Textiles like this are incredibly rare because the process is incredibly time-consuming (over five years, in our case) and these spiders are nearly impossible to domesticate.
Check out the video above to hear interesting commentary from curator Kathleen Bickford Berzock and conservator Lauren Chang, as well as see images of these palm-sized spiders in the wild. Proving once again that the creation process is not for the faint of heart.
2 days 16 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Congratulations to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on their grand opening this weekend. The building, designed by architect David Adjaye, is a truly historic addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C. #APeoplesJourney #MakingHistory
2 days 18 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Time machines, superheroes, wild creatures, and more… JourneyMaker makes every visit to the museum an adventure.
Try this new digital interactive for families in the museum’s Ryan Learning Center, located in the Modern Wing, or print out a tour at home.
3 days 16 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Today marks the autumn equinox and the official end of summer. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with the latest in ARTicle’s Sound and Vision series, matching songs from around the world with our encyclopedic collection.