“The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World”

A book group especially for art enthusiasts.

April 20, 2023 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm At the Museum and virtually on Zoom

"The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World" by Virginia Postrel

Welcome to Museum Reads, the Newport Art Museum’s Art-Themed book group for adults. We meet monthly, at the Museum and virtually, for discussion, and frequently are joined by the author.

In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo’s David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.

Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world’s most influential commodity.

Museum Reads Notes:
Be sure to register to receive email updates and Zoom links.
For last minute registrations, please call the front desk for the Zoom link at 401-848-8200.

Don’t miss!
Current Exhibition Social Fabric: Textiles and Contemporary Issues, on view in the Cushing Galleries through June 11, 2023

About the Author

Virginia Postrel is an author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture, commerce, and technology. She is a visiting fellow at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University, where she teaches classes combining the humanities and economics.

Postrel’s previous books include The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion (2013), The Substance of Style (2003), and The Future and Its Enemies (1998). She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. She has been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Forbes and its companion technology magazine Forbes ASAP.

Postrel received the 2011 Bastiat Prize, honoring journalism that displays “support for the institutions of the free society, persuasiveness, wit and creativity, relevance, and clarity and simplicity.” Her work was featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. In 2012, her Bloomberg columns received a first-place award for online entertainment commentary from the Los Angeles Press Club. The judges wrote that “Postrel shows a sharp eye for detail and gleans meaningful truths from our entertainment culture.”

A popular speaker for business, design, and university groups, she has taught seminars on “Glamour: Theory and Practice” in the Branding MPS program at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

This program is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.