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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Basket
Date: 1979
Medium: Forked sticks on willon base
Dimensions: 11 7/8 x 17 3/4 inches (30.2 x 45.1 cm)
Credit Line: Acquired through the Membership Purchase Fund, and through the Class of 1922 Handicrafts Fund
Object Number: 79.055.003
This cylindrical basket is made of woven sticks. Notice how the weaving becomes more open and tangled at the bottom of the vessel as if the basket is coming apart.

John McQueen was born in Oakland, Illinois in 1943. McQueen graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 and earned his MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. He received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 1977, 1979, and 1986. McQueen is part of the fiber arts movement in which artists began (as early as the 1920s) mixing traditional textile or weaving techniques with modern materials and or designs. McQueen and other artists of the 1970s were especially interested in taking traditional loom work and melding it with modern ideas, discovering new forms to create and new resources for materials. McQueen is still making and exhibiting artwork.

This round basket is made from forked sticks on a willow wood base. The base is a traditional, circular woven basket, tall and narrow and made from multi-colored sticks of different sizes. As you look from the mouth of the basket to the to the base, notice how it appears that the woven sticks are beginning to open or 'branch' out from the form, giving it a sense of movement.

McQueen creates works of art using natural fibers that have been gathered on his farm in upstate New York. He gathers his own materials, from barks and twigs to vines, grasses and flowers. He collects these materials for projects that have been carefully sketched and modeled before the work is actually begun. Painstaking work upon a loom results in objects that often are not functional despite all appearances of being so. For McQueen, creating a typical basket is not the goal; instead he strives to test the boundaries of a form using the resources of the natural environment and the world around him.

To see other baskets by John McQueen in the Johnson Museum’s collection, search for object numbers 79.055.001 and 79.055.002 in the keyword search box.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.