High Fiber

High Fiber illustrates the diversity of contemporary art created with fiber and presents many of the important milestones of the American fiber art movement, from the mid 20th century when artists began to explore fibers fully as an expressive medium to the present. The exhibition includes a variety of objects — quilts, baskets, tapestry, and sculpture among others — by artists such as Anni Albers, Lia Cook, Ed Rossbach, Jon Eric Riis, and Claire Ziesler. High Fiber is the fifth exhibition in a series that surveys the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s craft collection by specific medium or craft category.


Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery from 1995 to 2003, chose the objects in "High Fiber" from the museum’s permanent collection. Rebecca A. T. Stevens, consulting curator for contemporary textiles at The Textile Museum, is the guest curator of the exhibition. Robyn Kennedy, chief at the Renwick Gallery, is coordinating the exhibition.

Visiting Information

March 11, 2005 July 9, 2005
Open Daily, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m
Free Admission


High Fiber is organized by the Renwick Gallery with support from the James Renwick Alliance, the Stephen D. Thurston Memorial Fund, and Samuel J. and Eleanor T. Rosenfeld.


Anni Albers
born Berlin, Germany 1899-died Orange, CT 1994

The daughter of a furniture manufacturer, Anni Albers (née Fleischmann) was born in Berlin.

Lia Cook
born Ventura, CA 1942

Born in Ventura, California, Lia Cook studied theater at San Francisco State Universtiy before receiving her B.A. and M.A. degrees (1965 and 1973 respectively) at the Universtiy of California, Berkeley.

Jon Eric Riis
born Park Ridge, IL 1945
Ed Rossbach
born Chicago, IL 1914-died Berkeley, CA 2002

Born in Chicago, Ed Rossbach earned a B.A degree in 1940 at the University of Washington, an M.A. in 1941 at Columbia University, and an M.F.A. in 1947 at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Claire Zeisler
born Cincinnati, OH 1903-died Chicago, IL 1991

Born in Cincinnati, in the mid-1940's Claire Zeisler attended the Institute of Design in Chicago (now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology), where she studied sculpture with emigre artist Alexander Archipenko.