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Renie Breskin Adams     Fear, Laughter, and the Unknown

Fear, Laughter, and the Unknown
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of the Council of American Embroiderers
1978, cotton and embroidery, 30 x 24 in.
© 1978 Renie Breskin Adams

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At first glance this lush embroidery appears to be a small Oriental carpet. Indeed, the basic design of the pattern, the colorful but muted palette, and the dense, nubby pile were inspired by the rich, time-honored tradition of carpet weaving in Western and Central Asia. Renie Breskin Adams infuses the embroidery with autobiographical details in the whimsical cartoon images. Although unreadable to the viewer, these cryptic ideograms convey to the viewer that a story is being told.