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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art, 1972–1985

Museum of Contemporary Art Online / Los Angeles / Art

In Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “Filling Station,” she laments the dirtiness of a gas station before noting a surprising presence. She asks, “Why, oh why, the doily? / (Embroidered in daisy stitch / with marguerites, I think).” The answer, she concludes, is “Somebody loves us all.” The Pattern and Decoration Movement of the 1970s and 80s championed domestic touches, feminine motifs—patchwork, florals, intricate lacings—and associated forms from folk and textile arts to ceramics. “With Pleasure” is the first scholarly survey of P&D art, once dismissed as merely decorative, and too long understudied. Because the museum is currently closed, the New York multimedia artist Sanford Biggers leads a tour through the exhibition. —C.J.F.

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