Cooper Hewitt says...
James Bassler (American, b. 1933) is a native of California, where he has lived much of his life. He completed his Master’s degree in Art in 1968 at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied with Bernard Kester. While serving in the Army in the 1950s, he travelled in India and Indonesia. There, he was exposed to spinning, dyeing, weaving, and other textile techniques, and decided to make weaving his primary form of artistic expression. He is noted for his promotion of indigenous textile techniques, and in particular his development of ancient Andean weaving techniques and Navajo wedge weaving.
Bassler has taught since the 1960s, both in the United States and in Mexico, and was a member of the Art faculty at UCLA for eighteen years before retiring in 2000. As Professor Emeritus, he continued to teach about the textiles of the Americas in the Department of World Arts and Cultures.
Over his long career, Bassler has been the recipient of many grants and awards, from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Council for the Arts, and the American Craft Council; he was named to the American Craft Council College of Fellows in 1998. His work can be found in the collections of the American Craft Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, Oakland Museum of Art, Cotsen American Masters Textile Collection, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Long House Reserve. Bassler’s papers are housed at Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art; the Archives also conducted an oral interview with the artist in 2002. He was featured in the PBS series Craft in America in 2009.
Bassler continues to create work in his studio in Palm Springs, California, and is represented by galleries in Connecticut and New Mexico.