Tory Burch Debuts Exhibit at Hancock Shaker Village, Joining Artists James Turrell And Nicholas Mosse

Tory Burch To Open Shaker Inspired Art Installation, Beauty Rests On Utility

Joining the opening of renowned artists James Turrell & Nicholas Mosse, Lapsed Quaker Ware exhibit, Tory Burch will release her own installation, Beauty Rests On Utility. Influenced by Shaker style and aesthetic, both shows will be featured at Hancock Shaker Village, home of one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Shaker material culture in the world. 

Burch is inspired by American craftsmanship, particularly the Shakers’ purposeful design philosophy and joyful approach to color. She was also inspired by memories – classrooms at her Quaker elementary school, baskets that hung at her family’s farm,  and handmade quilts she found in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Utility reveals the influence of Shaker design on her Spring/Summer 2021 collection while celebrating Shaker innovation, utility and aesthetic refinement. The exhibit infuses objects from the museum’s permanent collection, juxtaposed with pieces from her fashion and home collections, including hand-woven shoes and handbags, and basket-weave embroidery.

Burch, who shot the lookbook and film for her Spring/Summer 2021 collection at the Hancock Shaker Village said, “Shaker craftsmanship is impeccable and has long been an inspiration. It is an honor to display our pieces alongside this museum’s beautiful and historic collection.”

Utility will accompany Lapsed Quaker Ware, a ceramics series born from a collaboration between the self-proclaimed lapsed Quakers, James Turrell and Nicholas Mosse. The duo was inspired by 18th century black basalt funeral ware created by founder of The Wedgwood Company, Josiah Wedgwood. The pieces are a body of work that manifests a new perspective on light through its absence. The ceramics collection absorbs lights as opposed to refracting it, which draws viewers in with a visual gravitational pull. Turrell’s work is known for heightening the viewer’s sense of seeing, which places the viewer in a realm of experience. “My work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing,” stated Turrell.

Once known as the “Shaking Quakers,” the Shakers, split from mainstream Quakerism in 1747. Hancock Shaker Village is a living history museum in the heart of the Berkshires. A National Historic Landmark, the property includes twenty historic Shaker buildings dating back to 1783, and the oldest working farm in the Berkshires. The museum is home to more than 22,000 artifacts including furniture, textiles, hymnals, and everyday goods, making it one of the premier Shaker collections in the world. 

Architecture and furniture from the Shakers continues to exert a powerful influence on artists and designers today. From Donald Judd’s daybed to Virgil Abloh’s Markerad chair for Ikea, it seems to be an enduring force.

“Since the 18th century, Shakers have made architecture, furniture, garments and tools that continue to serve as touchstones of American vernacular design,” said Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Director of Hancock Shaker Village. “We are delighted to welcome Tory Burch, who draws inspiration from the Shaker aesthetic, and explores the Shaker influence in an historic context in surprising ways.”

The two installations launch simultaneous at Hancock Shaker Village on May 31st, with additional exhibits by artist/designer Gary Graham, textile artist Laura Sansone, and sculptor Thomas Barger .