The newest issue of the Cahiers métiers d’art/Craft Journal has just come out, and it features an extended essay-length version of the text I wrote about the Craft Off series. The text discusses three performance-based works by Wednesday Lupypciw, Suzen Green & Ryan Statz, and David McCallum & Dory Kornfeld, as well as how traditional and gendered conceptions of craft are addressed and reconfigured in these works.
UNIDENTIFIED…ENIGMATIC, PERHAPS EVEN ROMANTIC
(with the Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society)
This informal exhibition offers up a small selection of documents, photographs, texts, publications, correspondence, and art works chosen by the members of the Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society during our summer 2012 residency at the John Snow House. Spanning the years of 1974 to 2010, these selections are the result of our collective meanderings through The New Gallery’s archives and library. The title of our exhibition is drawn from a note left in a binder of slides in 1988 by then-administrator Nelson Henricks that reads: “The following slide are unidentified, which is kund of enigmatic, perhaps even Romantic. Nevertheless, I have identified them as Clouds ‘N’ Water because of the remarkable amount of wood paneling…They are coalated into groups that are from the same film, so please don’t mix them up, not that anyone will ever look at them, or even read this.”
I just got back from a whirlwind trip to the annual NCECA (National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts) conference, held in Seattle this year. I was there with the other members of The Brick Factory (a performance collective we formed during a residency at Watershed last summer). We presented a series of live performances over the course of 4 days as part of the Project Space exhibitions. Performances ranged from ceramic-themed reworkings of well-known historical performance art works, new original works created specifically for NCECA, and a few off-site interventions. For more information and documentation, check out The Brick Factory website, where we will be adding more posts soon.
This series brings together a group of artists whose hybrid practices incorporate craft and performance. Numerous recent craft projects and exhibitions have emphasized the ways that craft can be used to build community (either as a political tool or as a relational project). In contrast, the projects in this series use the performance of traditional craft activities like knitting and weaving to address ideas of competition and self-interest or to place their creators in a position of advantage. The projects in this series all involve the live creation of new craft works, and thus reveal links between the repetitive and time-consuming actions of crafting and durational performance art practices. Taken together, these performances provide a means to rethink relationships between craft, domesticity, traditional gender roles, and distinctions between the private and public spheres.
A publication accompanying this exhibition, featuring an extended curatorial text “Crafty Advantage: Craft, Performance, and Competition,” was published by M:ST in 2011, and a journal article “Craft Off: Performance, Competition, and Anti-Social Crafting/Performance, compétition et métiers d’art asociaux” was published in the Cahiers métiers d’art/ Craft Journal, Volume 5 Number 2 Spring 2012.
Reviewed by Dick Averns for Akimbo, Oct 11, 2010.