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Virtual MOCA: Book Club

Installation view of With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, October 27, 2019–May 11, 2020 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Jeff Mclane.

Virtual MOCA: Book Club


MOCA’s Virtual Book Club will provide readings and essays with discussion prompts to create a dialogue and open space for exploration and conversation.

This Sunday, we are featuring an essay from the exhibition catalogue of With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, which has been made digitally available to read from home.

Access the essay here to read along and join the discussion!

The artists of the Pattern and Decoration movement recuperated art forms historically discredited on the basis of their femininity (such as embroidery) or their status as craft (such as weaving, pottery, and other traditional, often non-Western arts). When P&D artists embraced the wild color combinations, rich textures, and busy patterns of decorative arts, they were also embracing new values for what counts as art and who counts as an artist. Here are some points to think about while reading this excerpt from “Lessons in Promiscuity: Patterning and the New Decorativeness in Art of the 1970s and 1980s”:

  • What is the role of decoration in your life, familial lineage, and cultural traditions, and what notions of gender, class, and artistic value does that reflect?
  • In the 1970s "decorative" was considered a dirty word. What are the most significant taboos in art and culture today?

Virtual MOCA is a new and daily digital series available on both and across MOCA's social media platforms. To enjoy the breadth of this program, please follow us on our social channels:

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All Virtual MOCA content is archived and sent out via email at the end of each week. For easy access to previous programs, subscribe to our mailing list.