September 13, 2014–November 8, 2014University Museum, Sutton Hall
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The Maureen A. Flaherty Post Collection of Irons and Iron
Related Objects is featured in an exhibition that tells the cultural, social,
and technological story of ironing. Selections from this unique and
comprehensive collection include antique implements, contemporary products, and
For those of us who have grown up in permanent press
clothing, the exhibition explains what an iron is, why and how different irons
were used throughout time, and how they developed. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century portraits of individuals dressed in pressed ruffles and
pleats, from the museum’s permanent collection, and costumes
loaned by IUP’s Fashion Merchandising Program illustrate the role of the
iron as status object. Images from retro women’s
magazines and information from IUP’s former Home Economics Program, where
ironing was once taught, reflect the historical importance of this domestic
The exhibition also looks at irons from a visual arts
perspective, as inspiration and raw material for artists. Selected works by sculpture students in IUP’s Art Department,
created from surplus irons donated by Maureen Post, will be displayed along
with works by sculptor and print maker Willie Cole.
Cole uses discarded irons and other household
items to create assemblage art. He also has used the shapes of iron plates and
ironing boards to represent shields and other symbolic elements of African and
African American history and culture. Scorched patterns created by hot irons on
canvas and paper suggest tattooing, branding, and scarification practiced by
some African cultures. Other works by Cole employ ironing implements and motifs
that refer to domestic work done by African American women. Cole states that
his work has been less about representing African and African American culture
than about “challenging viewers’ perceptions of reality” and encouraging us to
see the world through a different perspective.
To kick off this exhibition, there will be a public reception on September 13, 2014 from 6:00–8:30 p.m. in the University Museum.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 2:00–6:30 p.m.Thursday: 12:00–7:30 p.m.Saturday: 12:00–4:00 p.m.Closed Sunday, Monday, and University Holidays
Find out how you can support the Lively Arts at IUP.