Joanne Pillsbury. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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with Estrellita Brodsky & Joanne Pillsbury

To close out the exhibition Spin A Yarn, Joanne Pillsbury, specialist in the art and archaeology of the ancient Americas, will discuss with exhibition curator Estrellita Brodsky two extraordinary textile traditions separated by at least 500 years to explore the striking connections between artist of the ancient Andes and those of the 20th and 21st centuries.

This program will take place in Guild Hall’s newly renovated theater.

Spin a Yarn takes its title from an expression believed to have originated in sailors’ practice of telling stories, often tall tales, while repairing ropes during long sea voyages. Delving into the complex relationship between textile labor and storytelling, the exhibition examines the use of textiles as vehicles for the preservation of memories and knowledge. The terms textile and text are derived from the Latin texere (to weave), and while Western cultures have historically prioritized the written word, many others, particularly in Latin America, have relied on a rich tradition of using threads, knots, and woven materials to record and transmit information.

Spin a Yarn brings together a diverse selection of fiberbased works dating from ancient Andean times to the present. Some of the artists featured reflect on the weavings and feather works of pre-Hispanic cultures as precursors of geometric abstraction, while others explore and build on the embroidery and weaving techniques employed by indigenous peoples across Latin America as a means of advocating for the protection of these communities and the environment. Spin a Yarn casts light on the enduring significance of fiber arts in the modernist canon and the profound impact of indigenous and pre-Hispanic weaving traditions on the development of contemporary art.

This exhibition is curated by Estrellita Brodsky, founder and director of ANOTHER SPACE, New York, with Raul Martinez.

  • Joanne Pillsbury

    Joanne Pillsbury, Andrall E. Pearson Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous publications, including Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas (2015) and Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks (2012), recipient of the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award. Her 2012 volume, Past Presented: Archaeological Illustration and the Ancient Americas, was honored with the Association for Latin American Art Book Award, and her exhibition catalogue Golden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas (2017) was winner of the 2018 PROSE Award for Excellence. She was previously associate director of the Getty Research Institute, and prior to that, director of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks. Her recent publications include “Aztecs in the Empire City: The ‘People without History’ in the Met” (2021), and, with Iria Candela, Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art (2023). 

    Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • Estrellita B. Brodsky

    Estrellita B. Brodsky, PhD, is a distinguished curator, collector, and philanthropist and an advocate for artists and the art from Latin America and its diaspora.

    Brodsky holds a doctorate in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and a Master’s from Hunter College. Her curatorial expertise spans exhibitions and extensive writings, particularly focusing on post-WWII Latin American artists, including Jesús Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and Julio Le Parc, whose first U.S. museum survey she curated at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM): Julio Le Parc: Form into Action. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and is a founding member of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Latin American Art Initiative and Tate Americas Foundation Latin American Art Committee. She has endowed curatorial positions in Latin American art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), Tate, and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

    In 2015 she founded ANOTHER SPACE, a program and not-for-profit exhibition gallery established by the Daniel and Estrellita B. Brodsky Foundation dedicated to broadening international awareness and appreciation of art from Latin America and its diaspora.


Visual Arts programs are supported by funding from The Michael Lynne Museum Endowment and The Melville Straus Family Endowment.  

Additional support provided by Friends of the Museum: Jane Wesman and Don Savelson, and Laurie and Martin Scheinman 

Free gallery admission is sponsored, in part, by Landscape Details. 

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