3.20.2009

Armory Week: Sew Me the Money

Armory: Show Me the Money

Armory Week: Salvage Operation

The Fairs: Glop Art

Early in my painting career, I edited a magazine devoted to the textile arts. The big discussion then was art versus craft. It was a serious issue, since so many art-school trained artists with BFAs and MFAs were, by dint of their medium, designated as “craftsmen” or "craftswomen,” a second-tier status in the art world. Well, let me clarify, many adopted the term themselves, then they wondered why they weren’t getting the kind of representation they wanted. If you have a choice of saying “I am a fiber artist” or “I am an artist,” why opt for the restrictive one and then be pissed off that you’re unable to show your work more widely?

Armory Show: Tracey Emin at White Cube, London; stitched blanket

Detail below


It’s great to see that the discussion is finally over. Artists make what they make, whether it’s with fiber, glue, thread, wood, metal or paint, or something else entirely, like trash. Art is art. Sometimes it gets covered by a textile magazine, sometimes in the art press. Just spell the artist's name right.

I am biased in my love of cloth, fiber and thread. I am the granddaughter of tailors, the niece of a dressmaker and of a lacemaker. This final post in my coverage of the New York fairs focuses on work in fiber, or work in other mediums that reference textiles. I didn’t love it all, but I liked the ambiguity of some of the work--is it a drawing or a weaving?--and I liked the narrative thread of the images you see here.

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Armory Show: El Anatsui at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City

With its liquor-bottle caps and bottleneck wrappers held together with twisted wire, it's as much sculpture as painting or tapestry. I love the different ways the work can be interpreted



Armory Show: Mary Heilman chairs at 303 Gallery, New York City



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Armory Show: Patrick Van Caeckenbergh at Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Detail above and installation below
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Armory Show: Eve Berendes at Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt
This threaded sculpture has a Caracas-in-the-Fifties feeling, but it's a contemporary work


Armory Show: Ruth Lasky at Ratio 3, San Francisco
From a distance they look like framed drawings, but they're technically adept weavings
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Detail below
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Armory Show: Alyson Shotz at Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art, New York City
This piece is called Four Dimentional Drawing. This work with its precise geometry, bicolored threads and the shadow that's integral to the piece, may be my favorite piece in this post
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Detail below




Lin Tianmiao, Kukje Gallery, Seoul

There appears to be a photosilkscreen image on the surface of the woven fabric, but it might be the weaving itself. Within and atop the surface are masses of threads that force you to see beyond them into the image. The title, nicely poetic, is Seeing Shadow



Volta: Surasi Kusolwong at Hoet Bekaert, Ghent, Belgium
The installation consisted of a booth full of tangled skeins with a low divider of polished stainless steel

Detail below




Armory Show: Ivan Morley at Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
Not a favorite, but I included it for the visual narrative--what the previous work might look like if stitching has been a priority. You notice, by the way, that weaving and stitching are no longer "women's work"
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Detail below





Armory Show: William Kentridge, Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan and Naples

Detail below


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Bridge: Beatrice Kusiak, Collective Gallery, New York City




Armory Show: Nicholas Hlobo at Michael Stevenson, Capetown
A Xohsa man who came of age as apartheid was ending, Hlobo uses stitching to bring together metaphorically the different pieces and layers of personal and cultural identity. (I liked the work better once I learned that.)
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Detail below






Armory Show: Daniel Zeller at Pierogi, Brooklyn
You can't tell from the full view, above, but this is a drawing, not a textile, but you can see from the detail below that stitching, lacing and weaving are the visual substance of the work



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Armory Show: Thomas Fougeirol at Praz-Delavalade, Paris and Berlin
Anothe bit of trompe l'oeil: an oil-on-canvas painting that suggests shimmering lace
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Detail below




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Armory Show: Amanda Ross Ho at Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles
How did macrame get to be such a joke? This piece is not macrame--I think it's cut canvas or paper--but it does seem to let you in on the joke
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Volta: Maria Nepomuceno at A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janiero
Hammock sculpture executed in coiled basketry technique
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This piece just creeps me out, but I'll tell you why I put it in the mix here. Across the aisle from this booth was Samson Projects from Boston. It's director, Camilo Alvarado, was showing Rune Olson's Hustler-style images of women, and of men with full breasts and hard cocks, each topped with a painted bear head. This hammock-like sculpture (or possibly an actual hammock) so embodied the sexuality of the photographs that I laughed out loud. Was it a curatorial decision or just the coincidence of placement? Anyway, it's the first, and possibly the last, example of a he/she hammock I've ever seen.
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And with this post, my coverage of the New York fairs is over. I would have shown you more from Pulse, but midway through my camera malfunctioned. Next year . . .
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13 comments:

Donna Dodson said...

Nathalie Jacqueline Miebach is another contemporary artist and basket weaver- http://www.nathaliemiebach.com/

[dNASAb] said...

I like the inclusion of Daniel Zeller's work , the textural qualities and intricate details are incredible, and fit nicely into the thematic concept of this blog entry. [dNASAb]

Stephanie Sachs said...

What a wonderful week to enjoy your blog. Joanne, you create a nice balance between written word and pictures. So glad you took the time to put in the close up photos. Living on the other end of the world I have been glad to have your eyes sorting what seems like a group of overwhelming shows. The themes were interesting and allowed us to see a variety of art. Thank you for all your time and hard work. It is appreciated.

Larry Murray said...

A marvelous overview of the fiber arts component, as entertaining as it was informative. Just being able to chuckle at the hammock critter was enough to make me wish I had seen it in 3-D.

Larry Murray
Berkshire Fine Arts.com

Joanie San Chirico said...

Thank you Joanne, well put as usual.

tony said...

Even though there may be plenty of 'art' in craft works at what point does 'craft' become 'art' ?

Joanne Mattera said...

Tony,

As I say in the text: the discussion is over. If you show it as art,it's art. If you show it as craft, it's craft. It's as much about intent as content.

I'll be reporting on the new Richard Tuttle show at Pace Wildenstein. He has tie dyed fabric (with Rit, eek!), stitched and grommetted it. It's art.

Over and out on this topic.



I'm not getting sucked into this a discussion. It's over.

tony said...

Dear Joanne -the question was rhetorical.

tony said...

PS The ironic consequence of Duchampian thinking is that whilst he personally insisted upon a more 'intellectual' input in art he opened the doors so wide that it precluded any questioning whatsoever. Take him seriously and the joke's on you; take him lightly and the joke is still on you.

david john said...

who cares whether its art or craft?

it's all about creation and expression...

i love this posting....

Kathy said...

Hi Joanne! I'm a self taught collage, mixed media and assemblage I'm sooo glad I found your blog. This fiber art exhibit is amazing! I've been looking for fine art blogs to follow! So glad I found yours! Your work and the work of the other artists is inspiring!

Kathy

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks, All.

And, Tony, I didn't mean to be quite so adamant. I didn't edit my comment well, and a sentence I meant to delete remained. My response to you had a stridency I didn't intend.

tony said...

Dear Joanne, You come across as a vital & strong personality; you have created a fascinating site which is always a pleasure to visit. When I do, it is like being invited into someone's home, moreover a home they built by themself & I have enormous respect for that. Bearing all these things in mind, the last thing in the world you should be doing is explaining yourself; there is absolutely no need but I thank you for the sheer kindness of so doing. Best wishes, Tony