The Levi Strauss Museum in Buttenheim, Germany marks a major landmark by tapping into the creativity of British artist and 2019 Rivet 50 honoree Ian Berry. With a new exhibit devoted to Berry and his unique medium of choice: denim, the museum marks its 20th anniversary.
From Sept. 13 through Nov. 8, the museum will display a selection of Berry’s artwork from the past decade, including pieces from his works “Behind Locked Doors” and “Hotel California” as well as new ventures inspired by this year’s global lockdown.
The exhibit also includes a short documentary about the # iClapFor campaign by Berry, a global exhibition that featured a projection of denim hands clapping to express gratitude during the pandemic for the critical workers. The exhibit represents the first time that the actual artwork can be seen – not just its image.
Berry ‘s work, known around the world for upcycling old jeans into works of art, shows Strauss ‘s influence on sectors other than fashion. In his work, Berry combines denim from different brands, and often makes use of Levi’s to build his contemporary images.
For Berry, however, his work was a fit for the museum, not just because of his connection to jeans, but because of the story of the museum. “For me it’s about the man, about immigration, about going from rural origins to urban,” Berry told Rivet.
Housed in the birthplace of Levi’s founder Levi Strauss, the museum displays the struggles of a Franconian Jew in the 19th century, the challenges of a German refugee in the United States, the rise of the garment industry and the history of denim, all while celebrating Strauss’ contributions and legacy.
“As it’s a museum that looks back over the history of the man who really made jeans what they are today, it’s great to be able to look back over my history with the material,” Berry said. “The exhibit will hopefully show how Levi’s ideas and development of this garment not only set off a global brand icon, but also inspired others to use the material in unusual ways. Without him, perhaps I would never have been inspired to use denim as my medium.”
Once the exhibit wraps up in Germany, Berry’s artwork will move on to the Museum Rijswijk show in Holland, followed by the National Textile Museum of Sweden (Textil Museet) next year.