Thursday, September 24, 2009

Textiles and Art: Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting

Last week, I posted about Shane Waltener's work, which led me to Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, an exhibition a few years ago at New York's Museum of Art and Design.

As Chief Curator David McFadden says, “These are not your grandmother’s crocheted doilies and knitted legwarmers.The traditions that have defined both knitting and lace making for centuries are suspended in this exhibition. Each piece bears a political or personal message, invites public participation, and encourages the viewer to reconsider how fiber functions on a tangible, spiritual and aesthetic level.”

image credit
installation view of a piece by Shane Waltener

Holly Hotchner, Director of the Museum of Arts & Design, explains,“As the first in a series of exhibitions exploring new interpretations of traditional materials and techniques in honor of the Museum’s 50th anniversary, Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting extends the boundaries of the category we call fiber art—work that traditionally uses cotton, wool, silk and linen.
Given the established perceptions of knitting and lace making, viewers will be surprised to see how contemporary artists have revolutionized these crafts to produce provocative, poetic and timely works.”

I think this show appeals to me so much because by design it intentionally blurs the line between art and craft. Or maybe I should say it deliberately plays in the grey area between art and craft, which I find so intriguing. I think that because craft skills are so easy to learn and often so utilitarian, that craft as art is often more personal and relateable than work made using more traditional art disciplines.

 image credit
(left) The Money Dress, David Cole
(right) Sabrina Gschwandter and Shane Waltener

For more information about this show, visit: 

The Fine Art of Crafts
Knitter's Review  
The Phoenix New Times
The Museum of Art and Design

1 comment:

Stacey said...

I completely agree, getting something unexpected in the mail, hand addressed of always a treat.