The exhibit, entitled “Nothing Change, Nothing Strange,” is the end result of an 18-month collaboration between Taylor and the Fabric Workshop, along with Philadelphia’s Recycled Artist in Residency (or RAIR), a program based on a construction and demolition recycling center on the shore of the Delaware River in Northeast Philadelphia. The Fabric Workshop, if you haven’t been, is a place where artists are invited to experiment, and it should be noted that, despite what the name might imply, artists aren’t required to work with fabric. Fabric was encouraged when the museum opened, in 1977, and while some artists over the years have embraced it (in 1991, Louise Bourgeois displayed a scarf as well as a wooden ball and iron chain), others have kept away from textiles (the Rose B. Simpson show that currently upstairs looks at the way homes are shaped and sculpted like clay). When Taylor began his residency, in 2021, he started out thinking about fabric, though in the end the giant loom that greets the visitor on entering is less like a loom and more like the discarded hulk of a ship, announcing a theme—ie, warp and weft, the essential process through which fiber is transformed into fabric. In “Nothing Change, Nothing Strange,” the strands are migrations and passageways, unforced and forced, and the various ways that viewers, as they weave through the space itself, experience these ideas.
Yet the show is also palpably enticing. Experiencing it, you have the feeling that Taylor himself has just stepped out of the room for a minute, still working and returning shortly, having handed you the tools. Look, there is in the construction that is at the center of the room—a ship, or so it seems, has been assembled with lumber and artificial turf, with a cache of old plastic tree planters wired up like the bridge, three shrouded figures watching likespecters. On the edge of the gunwale, a hammer sits on broken-up marble, a former countertop or maybe the transported ruins of a bathroom, a broken-up home. Are we building or destroying? And who’s in charge?
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