press release

A provocative and timely exhibition of work by international artists using fiber in unexpected and unorthodox ways, Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting illuminates a field of creative practice that is fresh, surprising, and engaging. Featuring 27 artists from seven countries, this exhibition exhibits work that ranges from Althea Merback's microknit garments (1:144 scale) to large-scale, site-specific installations. Artists employ a variety of media, from traditional yarns and laces, to found objects and video, and explore contemporary currents in art practice of socially engaged, participatory work.

Radical reformers in the world of knitting and lace making have overthrown the status quo from the inside out. In the space of ten years, knitting has emerged from the “loving hands at home” hobbyist’s den into museums and galleries worldwide. Knitting clubs meet in cities from San Francisco to Stockholm, while interactive knitting “performances” have been held in as seemingly unlikely places as the London Underground. Artist Sabrina Gschwandtner turned the traditional knitting circle into a participatory event, in which Museum visitors can use knitting to engage in a dialogue about war. Janet Echelman's work also provides social commentary, highlighting the countries that have publically detonated nuclear weapons.

The artists in this exhibition are experimenting with forms and techniques in the most novel and surprising ways, exploring new relationships between structure, design, color, and pattern. Yoshiki Hishinuma uses industrial knitting machines to create 3-dimensional free-form sculptures, some of which are also wearable. Industrial designer Niels van Eijk has used lace techniques to create a lamp out of optical fibers.

Many use materials and techniques to examine pressing contemporary issues of globalization and the environment, in addition to exploring personal questions of identity and sexuality. Cat Mazza's Knitoscope is computer software that translates video images into "knitted" images to educate about sweatshop labor. Freddie Robins's Craft Kills installation is a self-portrait that plays with our notions of craft as a passive activity.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated, full-color catalogue published by MAD that includes an essay by Chief curator David McFadden; illustrations of works by each artist, along with biographical essays; and an index. For information about ordering the catalog, please call The Store at 212-956-3535 x157.

Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting
Kurator: David McFadden

mit Bennett Battaile, Hildur Bjarnadottir, Dave Cole, Liz Collins, Annet Couwenberg, Francoise Dupre, Janet Echelman, Niels van Eijk, Carson Fox, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Elana Herzog, Hilal Sami Hilal, Yoshiki Hishinuma, Cal Lane, Ruth Marshall, Edward Mayer, Cat Mazza, Althea Merback, Sheila Pepe, Freddie Robins, Erna van Sambeek, Piper Shepard, Eugene van Veldhoven, Shane Waltener, Anne Wilson, Henk Wolvers, Barbara Zucker