Yoors Truly


Abstract floral imagery is featured in many of the tapestries of Jan Yoors, whose picaresque life and multi-media creations were the subject of a feature in the Summer 2010 issue of Modern magazine. And, appropriately, the work of Yoors—as well as that of his life partners Marianne Yoors and the late Annabert Yoors, who brought his designs to existence on the loom—is experiencing a re-efflorescence via a series of exhibitions currently on view, or upcoming, in New York City, and in Europe. Last month, the downtown New York gallery ReGeneration Furniture installed its second exhibition of Yoors work shown this year: Tapestries, Drawings, and Gouaches from the Estate of Jan Yoors, (the show runs through March 26th 2011). It includes a selection of whimsical paintings executed by Jan Yoors in 1947, which depict a variety of mammals, insects, birds, crustaceans, and reptiles. Among the tapestries on view is Cobalt Mountain (1977), simple in design but grand in scale—it measures over twenty feet in length. Other tapestries include one of Yoors’s early figurative works, Wolves Howling at the Moon (1956), as well as The Ploughshare (1977), and Vermilion Tantra (1976).

The gouaches on view, selected from a collection of hundreds in various stages of completion, are intriguing. It is unknown why Yoors painted so many of these small works while living in London after World War II and attending classes at the School of Oriental and African Studies. But a flip through one of his notebooks reveals that the idea for several of these simple renderings came from days of wandering around London’s museums—which is where he found much of his inspiration. Notably, a postcard depicting the migratory locust (Shistocerca gregaria), from the British Museum of Natural History, is inserted next to a sketch in a notebook of the same year, complete with a color schematic labeling different areas of the radically simplified insect.

Jan Yoors was very much interested in all of life’s details, some of which he chose to capture in photography. Opening on Thursday, December 17th, at New York’s L. Parker Stephenson Gallery is Jan Yoors: Harlem, c. 1963 (on view through February 24th), which documents the life of the neighborhood during the time of the civil rights movement. This is the first time in thirty-five years that the artist’s photographs will be featured in a gallery exhibition. An opening reception will be held on December 16th from 6pm to 8pm. Lastly, make a note on your calendar for the forthcoming exhibition at New York’s Museum of Art and Design entitled Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design (opening in October 2011), which, among works by a variety of artists and designers, will include one Yoors tapestry. And on the European front, several shows are being planned, including a photographs exhibition in Belgium at FelixArt museum, which is slated to open in 2012.

Beatrice Thornton [source: Modern Magazine]