Jann Haworth: Never the Less
August 24, 2017-November 11, 2017
Jann Haworth: Never The Less tells a vital story about women. Beginning with the artist’s grandmother, the “Old Lady,” six decades of artworks ask pointed and sometimes uncomfortable questions. Her art bares strained dilemmas about women’s rights and social identity using an artistic language of comic satire, theatrical staging, and popular culture, all sewn together with thread, fabric, and irony. Jann Haworth’s art is poignant and telling, sly and humorous. A pioneer of “soft sculptures” in the early 1960s, Haworth is perhaps best-known as the co-creator of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, which Rolling Stone magazine named the most important album cover of all time. As a revolutionary in the Pop Art movement, Haworth was one of the few practicing and recognized women artists in 1960s London. Pushing boundaries and assumptions, she purposely created her art from materials with domestic associations such as fabric, thread, and buttons, to address and question preconceived notions about women in art and more broadly women’s roles in society.
In an interview with the Tate about her time at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, Haworth said,…
I liked the Slade’s fustiness; it was another thing to push against...The assumption was that, as one tutor put it, “the girls were there to keep the boys happy.” He prefaced that by saying “it wasn’t necessary for them to look at the portfolios of the female students…they just needed to look at their photos”. From that point, it was head-on competition with the male students. I was annoyed enough, and American enough, to take that on. I was determined to better them, and that’s one of the reasons for the partly sarcastic choice of cloth, latex and sequins as media. It was a female language to which the male students didn’t have access.
Jann’s art is as relevant today as it was during the unrest of the ‘60s. Both autobiographical and an examination of the world we live in, Haworth’s art urges us not to ignore the magnitude of the issues at hand. Never The Less is a call to action, declaring that women are not less than. Jann Haworth’s (b. 1942) art has been collected and exhibited at significant museums around the world, including the Smithsonian, Royal Academy, Walker Art Center, Tate, and many others. Haworth grew up in Hollywood as the daughter of two artist parents and later attended UCLA, the Courtauld Institute in London, and the Slade School of Fine Art. Inspired by the landscape of the West, she now divides her time between Salt Lake City and Sundance, Utah.