Friday, August 17, 2012
The recently-published look-book of Karen Nicol's couture embroidery design and her inspirational sources is pure eye-candy for anyone who loves to embroider, or just gaze at embroidery. The variety, originality and sheer volume of Nicol's work is jaw-dropping.
Embroidery for commercial fashion is (a) totally different entity to labour-intensive hobby embroidery. There is a crippling cost to an embellishment which demands many hours of work and it is all too easy to price a piece out of the market so designs have to take into account the timing, amount of work and quantity of stitches from the offset.
Speed is also paramount because there are often last-minute adrenalin-fueled ideas and short time-frames are endemic. It is not unusual to receive a piece on which the embroidery has to be designed and executed a matter of hours before a show.
(Fashion) is not exactly an art, but needs an artist to exist.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Many, heartfelt thanks to all of those who've written me and expressed such kind congratulations about being a part of this show. I was thrilled that my mother was able to attend with me, and only wish that my father could have been there.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan Women closes this weekend & Randi Malkin Steinberger - Pt. 2
You have a rare opportunity. The exhibition, Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan Women closes this weekend at the Fowler Museum of Art at UCLA. Coinciding with the recent opening of the Boetti retrospective at MoMA, the Fowler show offers an especially rare look at this work. These incredible embroideries are exhibited side-by-side with the equally absorbing story of not just how they were made -but how their production was documented.
Randi said that Boetti often signed these embroideries "Boetti by Afghan People" as acknowledgement of their work. "He really viewed these embroideries as a collaboration" Randi says. They often made their own choices while working, with unusual results: pink or purple oceans, or bits of poetry in their own language integrated into the wordplay Boetti had originally laid out for them to embroider.
Boetti saw these changes as an integral part of the work and the wordplay he loved so much. Similarly, Randi's photographs become not just a record, but an extension of the work itself.
In this era of cameras-are-everywhere and easy, digital photography, Randi's photos, caught in a mere 2-3 hour window under uncertain and unpredictable circumstances are rare glimpses into a cloistered world we may never have seen. Like his "Lampada Annuale", Boetti ensured that the illumination, however brief, is a fact, and not a mere deception.
Boetti by Afghan People - Randi Malkin Steinberger
Boetti by Afghan Women - Christopher G. Bennett (museum catalog)
Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan People at Fowler Museum UCLA - February 26 - July 29, 2012
Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan at MoMA - July 1 - October 1, 2012
related entries on this blog:
Order and Disorder at Fowler Museum
Concept to Collaboration: Artists Involving Others
Concept to Collaboration: Hommage to Bruno Schulz
Randi Malkin Steinberger - Pt. 1
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
40 under 40: Craft Futures - opens this week at Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
|La Llorona 2005, hand embroidery on cotton 17" x 25"|
The exhibition will tour nationally after its close in DC.
40 under 40: Craft Futures is is presented in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery. The exhibition investigates evolving notions of craft within traditional media. The range of disciplines represented illustrates new avenues for the handmade in contemporary culture. The artists included in the exhibition originate from every region of the United States and five countries.
The exhibition will tour nationally after it closes in Washington, D.C. A catalogue will be available at the public opening.
The museum intends to acquire works by every artist in the exhibition for the permanent collection to mark the anniversary.
Vivian Beer, b. 1977
Melanie Bilenker, b. 1978
Jeffrey Clancy, b. 1976
Dave Cole, b. 1975
Cristina Córdova , b. 1976
Gabriel Craig, b. 1983
Jennifer Crupi, b. 1973
Erik Demaine, b. 1981
Joshua DeMonte, b. 1984
Brian Dettmer, b. 1974
Nick Dong, b. 1973
Joseph Foster Ellis, b. 1984
Jeff Garner, b. 1978
Theaster Gates, b. 1975
Sabrina Gschwandtner, b. 1977
Jenny Hart, b. 1972
Sergey Jivetin, b. 1977
Lauren Kalman, b. 1980
Lara Knutson, b. 1974
Stephanie Liner, b. 1978
Marc Maiorana, b. 1978
Sebastian Martorana, b. 1981
Christy Matson, b. 1979
Cat Mazza, b. 1977
Daniel Michalik, b. 1972
Matt Moulthrop, b. 1977
Christy Oates, b. 1980
Olek, b. 1978
Andy Paiko, b. 1977
Mia Pearlman, b. 1974
Lacey Jane Roberts, b. 1980
Laurel Roth, b. 1973
Shawn Smith, b. 1972
Jen Stark, b. 1983
Matthew Szösz, b. 1974
Uhuru (Jason Horvath, b. 1978 and William Hilgendorf, b. 1979)
Jamin Uticone, b. 1975
Anna Von Mertens, b. 1973
Stacey Lee Webber, b. 1982
Bohyun Yoon, b. 1976
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I have been totally remiss in not blogging about this show -which closes tomorrow. I just managed to get myself down to Pop Tart Gallery today, and the above was one of my favorite works. Curated by Ellen Schinderman.
Not in Los Angeles? All of the works can be viewed online here.
Monday, June 18, 2012
The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum asked all artists included in the upcoming exhibition 40 Under 40 : Craft Futures, to make a brief, 60-second video of their work. If you'd like a tiny peek into my studio, see some of my artwork and an ongoing piece as I'm working on it, then don't be shy...
40 Under 40 : Jenny Hart || All profiles can be seen here
Sunday, June 10, 2012
GAN rugs have released a home furnishings line designed by Charlotte Lancelot. While their press release pushes the idea of mixing of old craft with pixelated digital imagery, what I love even more is that they are oversized, and appear threadbare and old.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Last Thursday the finished piece to result from the Concept to Collaboration project was displayed at the Fowler Museum of Art at UCLA for Fowler Out Loud. Now that it's finished, I can explain the project in its entirety.
This spring, I was invited by the Fowler Museum of Art to develop an activity for UCLA students in conjunction with the current exhibition: Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan Women. (The title of the show is a nod to how Boetti often signed his works as they were embroidered by hundreds of Afghan women over many years.) Boetti viewed these works ultimately as collaborations, owing to the unpredictable decisions made by the stitchers (unexpected color choices, words added in their own language), all of which contributed to the finished piece. The works heavily incorporate wordplay, poetry and the puzzling configuration of words and phrases.
Concept to Collaboration was designed as an exercise to show students how artists sometimes engage others in the creation of their works, and I wanted to reflect Boetti's use of wordplay. To create the piece, participants were invited to write words (selected at random from a box) onto a piece of fabric, along with instructions for how to write the words (small, large, backwards, vertically). Once the word was transcribed, it was given to an embroiderer to stitch.
As everyone who worked on the piece knows, I did not disclose what we were stitching. And there was a lot of curiosity and guessing. Random words? A poem? A controversial political statement?
I had chosen my favorite literary passage from The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. I wrote a brief entry on Schulz a few years ago for another blog, and the full passage that is embroidered on the Concept to Collaboration piece is linked below. It struck me afterward that the finished piece has the colorful look of an elementary-school project, with rainbow colors and playful embellishments introduced by the stitchers. But the passage, unknown to the collaborators, is sweetly contrary to the aesthetic outcome.
For me, this was a new experience. I had never worked with a group in this way before, and I was genuinely surprised at the amount of work and personal creativity everyone put into it. While many had traveled to work on the piece, and were unable to attend the one night of its display, I will announce any other opportunities to see the work in person.
Because I'd like to show every word that was stitched, I am going to post the entire passage, word by word to instagram (@sublimestitching) today. All of the words will also be viewable online here.
I want to express my heartfelt and sincere gratitude to all of those who participated in the project. Many thanks to Devon Iott who did a masterful job of sewing all the separately stitched words into one, large piece. And sincere thanks to the Fowler Museum of Art and its wonderful staff, for involving me in this exhibition. It has been a deeply educational and rewarding experience for me.
Excerpt from The Street of Crocodiles (1934) by Bruno Schulz
Randi Malkin Steinberger - Pt. 1
Concept to Collaboration list of participants
Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan Women
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum has launched a micro-donations campaign to help support acquisitions of work by all the artists in the forthcoming show, 40 Under 40 : Craft Futures.
Donations of $10 or more will be recognized online, and those who donate before July 11, 2012 will be credited in the exhibition. Here is your chance to support the work of artists within our own community who are being recognized by this prestigious and venerable institution -and show that you are a part of it. To give $10, text Renwick40 and your name to 20222 or visit Support 40 Under 40: Craft Futures.