Search Results for crochet


Agitprop!: A Conversation with Martha Rosler, Nancy Buchanan, and Andrea Bowers

Saisha Grayson

March 1, 2016

SG: That’s an interesting example, because it touches on the usefulness of history in your projects. You work with archives a lot. You revive the structure of certain strategies. Why are we not learning from history? Or, how we can learn better from history, through a look to the archives, or by looking to the older performance projects that are in danger of being lost?

AB: I think archiving accidentally fell into my lap because most of my projects sort of start with an activist that I learn about, just through circles of friends, or I seek out, because I see they’re doing something. And I email them, or I try to get a hold of them.

But what I started finding out was that all of these activists that I would go and interview in videos—because I almost always interview in videos, because I’m trying to create literally an archive of activists, during my lifetime, that I think are amazing and may be underrepresented—but what I discovered was, in all of their closets, or in all of their drawers, were these amazing archives that no one was seeing. So I just asked them if I could scan them. I’d give them all the scans back. And then, that started circling into social media and stuff. And then, I’m collecting all of that stuff, too. But it’s really about under-recorded, underrepresented, under-seen, really important historic events, because activism doesn’t end, right? These actions don’t end.

MR: There’s a trend in academe, and perhaps elsewhere, to critique the idea of collaboration, and participation. And interestingly, a number of these attacks on inclusiveness have come from female scholars, which I always find interesting. I did write a little bit about it in the book that I did on the culture class, in part to agree with the idea that somehow public projects wind up being social management tools for social and political elites.

But it’s a mistake to make a totalizing criticism of a process that’s actually very porous—the idea of inviting other people into whatever space you’ve been accorded for whatever amount of time.

Let’s say you are working with people who have not otherwise been given access to a public space to represent themselves. You never want to speak for people, which is a serious issue. So how to name them in the production of the work? Repeatedly, when I’ve invited other people to collaborate with me, I’ve run into a problem with the curators and the art space who refuse to acknowledge the collective authorship of the work. The problem of saying, “no, it’s not a work by me. It’s a work by me and this person, and this person, and this person, and this person, and this person.”

Noah Fischer, who I see in this audience today, with Occupy Museums, has managed to write a contract in which the institution acknowledges the co-authorship of the other people who have participated in a project, because otherwise you wind up, against your will, with people seemingly in a subordinate relationship to you, because of the way the institution insists on naming the author of the work, whom they call “the invited artist.” This is something not talked about publicly, the way that institutions insist on controlling the record, telling artists, “We nominated you. You don’t have the right to nominate anyone else,”—But the partial departure from that model is what makes this particular exhibition, Agitprop!, unique.

NB: My friends Christine and Margaret Wertheim, who made the Crochet Coral Reef, which has traveled around the world, felt that the reason why some places didn’t want to take their work, and why there’s no market for it, is that they insisted on listing every single name of every person involved as being a part of that work. They would not allow it to be represented as “by Christine and Margaret Wertheim.”

MR: This is a kind of an ossified mindset that comes from people who have been trained, and rightly, to verify historical facts. They become so stuck in the fetishization of the shards of evidence that they have trouble stepping backward to an actual larger event, or a larger piece of evidence. Hence this problem of segmenting out the artist as the one who gets nominated. And everybody else is, well, who the hell are you?

SG: And focusing on the fetishized object instead of the issue, or the moment, or the event that’s being brought up. Speaking of fetishization, I read a number of interviews with each of you in preparing for this. And almost in every case you guys are asked to speak to the efficacy of activist art. “Did you successfully end the war, or stop patriarchy through your work?,” and so on.

MR: Well, activism is a process. And we’re dealing here in a world of objects, art objects.

AB: I mean, activist change is inherently about collectivity, right? We’re back at that idea again. So all you can do is do your part. You do your part. You speak up, as a citizen—

MR: You took the word right out of my mouth!

AB: —and you trust that there are others who are like-minded who are out there working as hard as you are. And together, over time, change will occur. Chris Carlsson, who is an activist from San Francisco has spoken of radical patience, of knowing that it was started before you arrived and that it will continue after you are gone.

MR: Because you asked specifically about art and “did you guys stop the war?” And I want to affirm that I think art is revolutionary.  I truly mean that, and I think we probably all do. But art doesn’t make revolution. People make revolution. And it’s as citizens, as Andrea said, that we struggle. And if our art is imbricated and implicated in that struggle, that’s what we do. But it’s still people who make the revolution, whatever that revolution is.


Opening at ICA, London

Bloomberg New Contemporaries

November 25, 2015

“…In this year’s selected sculptural work, abject materials such as car parts, plaster, wax, expanding foam and plywood, along with craft methods of production such as crochet and embroidery, are used to question the value of labour and social hierarchies.”


8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale

OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai

May 9, 2014

Sheila Pepe
The Research Station created by Sheila Pepe sits at the heart of the exhibition and houses a number of artist projects and research materials. Physically, as an artist’s installation, the structure is composed of netting, crocheted and knitted materials—all woven together into a networked structure providing a systematic, yet organic, connection amongst the elements of the station. The Research Station creates an area for the public to interact with each other and with the concepts of the project. In addition to giving access to research materials, the station will play host to a series of talks and events throughout the duration of the biennial.

2012 SECA Art Award

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

September 20, 2013

Josh Faught
Neptune Society Columbarium, SF

… Faught’s installation is inspired by the visual language of these personalized tributes, and takes the form of two freestanding works of crocheted and woven yarn on wooden armatures and one large, suspended woven sculpture—his largest work to date—that engage with the space’s central rotunda, Zubanan stairwell, and Dome. His color palette is restricted to hues that artist and designer William Morris articulated in the early 20th-century Arts and Crafts movement—including cochineal pink, indigo blue, walnut brown, and weld yellow. “Each of these natural dyes has a somewhat fugitive quality, which extends to some of the thematic narratives in the content of the work around transition and time,” explains Faught. The San Francisco–based artist’s first solo exhibition in the Bay Area also furthers his investigation of emotional support structures and various histories of craft, the queer community, and activism.

Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City

Walker Art Center

August 14, 2013

Home is the first place where most people can affect immediate change.
—Fritz Haeg


Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City, 2013. Exhibition view, Walker Art Center, 2013. Photo: Gene Pittman.

Domestic Integrities A05, the fifth American iteration of this traveling project on view through November 24, explores the ways we make use of local resources, bringing cultivated and wild landscapes into our homes. The centerpiece of the project is a large circular rug crocheted from discarded clothing and textiles. The rug was started in spring 2013 using antique linens from Mildred’s Lane, a farm in rural Pennsylvania, with sequential rings added from its time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Its outermost rings were made at the Walker Art Center by volunteers from around the Twin Cities. For Haeg, the rug is a charged site for testing and performing how we want to live with materials harvested and processed from the Foraging Circle, Edible Estate, and other local gardens and homes.

Labour and Wait

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

July 10, 2013

…Other artists include Ricky Swallow, whose wood sculptures create a dialogue between personal and public iconography as well as the permanent and ephemeral. Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel take their investigations into hand-crafted materials and processes to a level that some may consider extreme, realizing from scratch works that include traditional stone carving, tapestry weaving, and clay and porcelain techniques. Tonico Lemos Auad‘s crocheted chandeliers address in a prescient and contemporary way the spiritual aspects of craft and artmaking.

Joana Vasconcelos

Portuguese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

May 26, 2013

Floating pavilion
The Trafaria Praia project addresses the commonalities between Lisbon and Venice, both cities that played historical roles in broadening the European worldview during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It looks at the contact zone between them today by considering three aspects they share: water, navigation, and the vessel. Vasconcelos brought to Venice a cacilheiro, the Trafaria Praia, and is presenting it as a floating pavilion. She is, thus, deterritorialising territory, which is intended as an idealistic gesture—a metaphorical circumvention of the power struggles that often mark international relations.

Vasconcelos covered the outside of the ship with a panel of blue-and-white azulejos (hand-painted, tin-glazed ceramic tiles) that reproduces a contemporary view of Lisbon’s skyline. This piece takes its inspiration from the Great Panorama of Lisbon, which depicts the city before the earthquake of 1755 and is a quintessential expression of the baroque-style golden age of azulejo production in Portugal.

On its deck, she created an environment made of textiles and light—a complex medley of blue-and-white fabrics all over the ceiling and walls, from which crocheted pieces, intertwined with LEDs, emerge to create a womblike, surreal atmosphere. The installation suggests the deep ocean—something out of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, perhaps, or the Bible story of Jonah and the Whale.


2012 SECA Art Award winners

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

December 17, 2012

Josh Faught
Josh Faught’s work mines the rich histories of craft in sculptures that pair traditional textiles and homespun techniques such as loom-weaving, knitting, and crocheting with everyday objects that reference domesticity, political slogans, or kitsch. Collaged together in a patchwork-like fashion, fabrics such as hemp or recreations of the AIDS quilt are situated next to shiny sequins or campy buttons. These labor-intensive sculptures draw on histories of gender and sexual politics and precariously balance an urgent sense of anxiety with a nostalgic view of the present.

2011 grantees

Art Matters

September 14, 2011

Sheila Pepe
Support for the international iterations of Common Sense, an ongoing installation and participatory performance involving a large-scale crocheted drawing.

Schedule from September to December

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

August 2, 2010

Main Room – Grande Sala

Ernesto Neto: Dengo – curated by Felipe Chaimovich

Exploring sensorial implications and visitors’ immersion in the creation of his work, this carioca artist created a crochet mesh and built a gigantic and colorful structure that will completely occupy one thousand square meters of MAM-SP’s main room, through which visitors will circulate. By entering this type of organism, visitors create unusual relationships with space, provoking a direct perception and evoking the warmth of a caress thanks to the material used in the work. For the first time at MAM-SP Neto creates an installation of such proportion.



Julio Pomar and Joana Vasconcelos

Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian – Délégation en France

April 2, 2009

….After the original drawings of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and following the traditional methods of fabrication, Joana Vasconcelos restores a precise selection of the ceramist’s animals. She chooses beasts seen as powerful or threatening and clothes them in crocheted cotton, of diverse colors and stitches. Through this symbolically feminine act, Joana Vasconcelos tames these mythic and mythicized beasts.

Fair Exchange Exhibition: 8 September through 1 October 2006

Black Hole

September 2, 2006

…In addition to the works displayed in the Millard Sheets Gallery, a number of projects in Fair Exchange will be dispersed throughout the fairgrounds itself, including works that have been integrated into the Fairs exhibitions of crochet, quilting, knitwear, tablescaping, and Christmas tree decoration.

issue 16


February 2, 2005

– Margaret Wertheim in conversation with crocheting mathematicians David Henderson & Daina Taimina on their models of hyperbolic planes.

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe

Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art

July 6, 2004

…Sheila Pepe, 45, creates large, site specific installations combined with delicate wall drawings. Pepe weaves together complete environments of yarn, industrial rubber bands and shoelaces. She transforms light and space into flights of fantasy, with shadows cast by her woven nets. Her unique installation at Palm Beach ICA transforms the “line” from one into three dimensions, creating space and architecture by weaving together a complete environment from ephemeral materials. She describes her work as “improvisational crocheting.” She says, “I like shoelaces because they honor my grandfather, who repaired shoes after he immigrated to New York from Italy. The crocheting comes from my mother, who taught me to crochet as a child.” Her environments lend credence to the simple and lowly, while her scale and ambition gives newfound appreciation for all such humble beginnings. Pepe’s labor-intensive sculpture in the museum stretches overhead from the second floor balcony to the back of the space, touching the floor at several points, and is unique to the architectural characteristics of the building.


Image credits from left to right: Carrie Moyer, Affiche #14 (Cherry Bomb), 2004. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 42 in. Courtesy of the artist. Sheila Pepe, “Bridge and Tunnel”, 2004. Mixed media installation using crocheted shoelaces, graphite, gouache at Susan Inglett Gallery. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of Susan Inglett Gallery, New York.

Margi Geerlinks and Marisca Voskamp

Aeroplastics Contemporary

September 17, 2002

… The artist is interested here not so much in the tales (widely explored) psychoanalytic interpretation, but in how the viewer experiences being confronted by these emotionally charged images. As Cecilia Andersson notes in the preface to a recent volume on the artist (Crafting Humanity, 2001), Margi Geerlinks manages to make the most unlikely situations natural, but without taking away their force. The young boy and man are effectively father and son. It probably would not have been possible to confer such naturalness on the scene otherwise. This idea of asexual reproduction as a calculated, fully controlled a process whereby the human being literally makes his or her progeny is embodied in the portrait of a young woman knitting the body of her future newborn child. Elsewhere, a little girl crochets a breast that she then displays on her chest with a mixture of pride and doubt as to the final outcome. Without the use of digital imagery, which enables the child whom the artist photographs to project herself into her adult life, these could be simply family portraits.








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