Monday, January 29, 2007

Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

Arsenic & Lace

Knitting and crocheting have enjoyed a surprising surge in popularity in the last decade, mostly due to stressed out celebutantes who knit scarves. Now traditionally female fiber arts have been embraced by youth culture; there is even a knitting circle (Cast Off) based in the London Underground. The thirty international artists featured in Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting use a variety of materials (including old car parts, paper doilies, wires, fiber optics, video) in traditional and completely new ways to create works that shock and inspire.

Dave Cole's small teddy bear knit out of gunmetal-colored lead yarn is adorable---and poisonous to the touch. An intricate crochet blanket reads “IT SUCKS” in the center, the artist’s commentary on how much it must suck to crochet for a living. Freddie Robins, a political guerilla knitter from the U.K., showcases an S&M style bodysuit knit of gray yarn and pierced with knitting needles and embroidered with the words “Craft Kills”. These pieces compel the viewer to re-think grandma’s tatted lace pillows, especially in light of Hildur Bjarnadóttir’s tatted lace tablecloth complete with skulls. Visit the museum website for just a taste of the three floors of fiber arts currently on display.

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