The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's new showcase of 19 tapestries from Flemish Renaissance master Pieter Coecke van Aelst is, to put it simply, a showstopper, a fact spotted immediately at this week's private preview, hosted by Parsons: the New School for Design, with designer Jamie Drake, Stark creative director Ashley Stark, and exhibit curator Elizabeth Cleland.
In his time, Coecke van Aelst was a preeminent tapestry go-to, producing works sought after by European royals. Exhibition designer, Daniel Kershaw, traced Coecke’s artistic development, clarifying the steps of process in the production of the works while also recreating the dramatic effect of a tapestry vista, enveloping the Met’s visitors now, just as visitors to the palaces of Henry VIII or François the First would have been 500 years’ ago.
"Coecke was first and foremost a designer rather than simply a painter," said Cleland. "He was aware of the capability of tapestries’ huge scale and dramatic palette to dress a room. The way the tapestries he designed were installed and presented within a room could have a very particular effect on the artistic impact of the works.
As Parsons graduate and member on the Parsons Board of Governors, Drake was asked to sponsor and find an additional sponsor for the symposium. “I immediately thought of Stark,” he said. “As the premier source of woven goods, it was perfect fit for an exhibit on the highest level of woven goods in the 16th century. The tapestries are amazing—vibrant, and rich, in fantastic condition.”
Ashley Stark, Elizabeth Cleland, Sarah Lawrence and Jamie Drake
The tapestry themes include religious accounts with the story of Saint Paul and the seven deadly sins as well as more romantic tales such as Vertumnus and Pomona.
"We were thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Jamie Drake in supporting this incredible exhibition," said Stark creative director Ashley Stark. "The artistry and attention to detail in each of the tapestries is extraordinary, and anyone with a passion for design will be amazed.”
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Stark will sponsor a symposium about the exhibition at the MET with Parsons the New School for Design on Jan. 10 and 11, providing design enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about Pieter Coecke van Aelst and his contributions to art and design.