New Embroidery: Not Your Grandma’s Doily
September 22, 2006 – November 12, 2006
Curated by: Annin Barrett, Manya Shapiro and Namita Gupta Wiggers
Along with the popularity of knitting, crochet and quilting, embroidery too is re-surfacing in surprising and innovative ways. Through embroidered works on vintage linens and found textiles, New Embroidery: Not Your Grandma’s Doily explores the intersection of a traditional handcraft and contemporary art. Created through embroidery techniques that vary from meticulous to intentionally naïve, hand-stitched to machine sewn, the artwork on view is not a showcase of needlecraft virtuosity. Instead, it reveals a current trend toward the playful and ironic reclamation of “women’s work,” and a shifting relationship to the appropriation of discarded domestic materials.
Today, this new “domesticity” comes from the studio and the social arena of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) circles, where the handmade, kitsch and a culture of re-use prevails. The resulting works are surprising, humorous, and even subversive in content and imagery. The mere introduction of a domestic craft into studio practice was politically charged in the 1970s, when feminism was just beginning to open doors for women artists. By the late 1980s, artists who merged conceptual work with handcraft traditions were exhibiting work in the “white cube” of galleries and museums.
Today, a wide range of alternative art spaces and exhibition venues are available to artists, allowing them to operate outside of the established art world. Artists seek social engagement through portable work and spend time in overlapping diy and art world circles. Unencumbered by the socio-political challenges of the past several decades, artists today freely experiment with reclaimed materials and handcraft techniques. Rather than reject craft and the handmade, these artists embrace and re-contextualize craft traditions and materials.
Presented within a craft museum, New Embroidery provides another chapter in the history of utilitarian textiles. Here, the creations of countless anonymous stitchers merge with the innovative approaches of twenty-one contemporary artists. In the works on view, embroidery links the past and the present, pattern and narrative, contemporary art and traditional craft.
Artists shown include:
Maggy Rozycki Hiltner
Andrea Vander Kooij