Alfred University News

Tapestry designed by Jerome Ackerman ’52 MFA and wife, Evelyn, acquired by Milwaukee Art Museum

A tapestry designed by Alfred University alumnus Jerome Ackerman ’52 MFA, and his wife, Evelyn Ackerman, has been acquired by the Milwaukee Art Museum as part of its permanent collection of 20th century design.

The tapestry, “Aerial View,” was designed in 1970 and, according to the Ackermans’ daughter, Laura Ackerman-Shaw, was inspired by Jerome Ackerman’s view out a window during an airline flight. Jerome sketched the initial design and worked with Evelyn to refine it and create the color palette. The piece was handwoven in Mexico in wool and measures 44” x 70” — the largest size that the weavers’ looms could handle.

The tapestry was included in the California Design XI at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1971. California Design was a juried series of shows that ran from 1955-76. The Ackermans held the rare distinction of having pieces in every exhibition, more than 60 in total.

Jerome “Jerry” Ackerman, who passed away in 2019, earned an MFA in ceramic art from Alfred University in 1952. He was a designer-craftsman whose artistic collaboration with wife Evelyn was at the heart of California's Midcentury Modernism movement. The couple established the Jenev Design Studio in West Los Angeles, and as highly visible artists participated in every edition of the influential California Design shows at the Pasadena Art Museum, from 1954 to 1976. Evelyn passed away in 2012.

Shoshana Resnikoff, Demmer Curator of 20th- and 21st-Century Design at MAM, and James Zematis, Director of Museum Relations at R and Company Gallery in NYC, coordinated the acquisition of “Aerial View,” which was funded by the Demmer+Goisman Foundation.