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Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts

Friends of Textiles Lecture Planned on Japanese Propaganda Textiles

March 19 Event with Ringling Museum’s Asian Art Curator

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech’s Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts will present “Bunnies, Bombs and Battleships: Decoding the Imagery and Aesthetics of Japanese Propaganda Textiles,” on Tuesday, March 19, for the spring Friends of Textiles Lecture series.

The lecture will be presented by Rhiannon Paget, curator of Asian art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.  It will be held in the Digital Scholarship Lab on the second floor of the university’s Evans Library starting with a reception at 5:15 p.m. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m.

Paget will explore themes displayed in the Funk Center’s current exhibition, Designed to Mobilize: Propaganda Kimono 1920-1945. While the use of clothing to convey social and political messages is universal, Japanese propaganda textiles are remarkable for a number of reasons, including the high quality of their production, the direct, graphic nature of the designs, and that so many of them were made for children.

Incorporating motifs and stylistic elements from popular culture, modernism and folk traditions, the objects in Designed to Mobilize demonstrate the sophisticated, and often unsettling, visual language of Japanese propaganda textiles.

At the Ringling Museum, Paget oversees Asian art exhibitions and collections, including publications, collection development and research for the Center for Asian Art, which opened at the museum in May 2016. Prior to joining the Ringling, Paget held the position of Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

The lecture is free for Friends of Textiles members and Florida Tech students, faculty and staff, and $10 per person for the general public. Reservations are not necessary but may be made at https://textiles.fit.edu/events/. Prospective guests may also call the Funk Center at 321-674-6129 or email textiles@fit.edu for more information.

In a related event, the center will host a bus trip to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach on Thursday, March 21. Visitors will enjoy a guided tour of the traveling exhibition, Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture, followed by a tour of the museum’s Seishin-an Tea House and a brief introduction to the museum’s Japanese gardens. This will be followed by lunch in the scenic Cornell Café, which was described by the Food Network as one of the top three museum dining experiences in the country. Lunch is not included in the event price.

Tickets for this excursion are $45 for Friends members and $50 for the general public. The bus departs Florida Tech at 7:30 a.m. and is scheduled to return around 3:30 p.m. Ticket availability is limited. Preregistration by March 13 is required and can be done at https://textiles.fit.edu/events/ or by calling 321-674-6129.

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