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New Acquisition: Tigris T-1 by Anne Lemanski

Anne Lemanski, Tigris T-1
Anne Lemanski, Tigris T-1, 2018, copper rod, archival print on paper, artificial sinew, epoxy, and plastic, 64 × 61 × 30 in., Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, Gift of Fleur S. Bresler, 2020.8. Photography by Steve Mann.

Our upcoming exhibition Crafting America (February 6 – May 31, 2021) will highlight a new acquisition to the Crystal Bridges collection: Anne Lemanski’s Tigris T-I (2018). The work was generously gifted to the museum by Fleur S. Bresler, a leading collector of American craft.

Just over five feet tall, the sculpture features a tiger balancing skillfully on a colorful ball. To create the tiger, Lemanski first fashioned a metal framework, then stitched specially printed paper to cover the form. The result is mesmerizing in its kaleidoscopic pattern and bright colors.

While playful, the sculpture addresses deeper themes around power. As the artist has explained, she’s fascinated by “the complex, symbiotic relationship between humans and animals, highlighting our admiration for animals as symbols, and our exploitation of them to suit our needs.” With Tigris T-I, Lemanski draws attention to the spectacle of a circus tiger performing tricks: the powerful, threatening predator made obedient to the desires of human handlers.

Through its unexpected materials and conceptual depth, Lemanski’s work underlines the richness and complexity of craft. We look forward to seeing Tigris T-I and exploring this subject fully in our exhibition soon.

Written by Jen Padgett, associate curator and co-curator of Crafting America, Crystal Bridges.