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Why haven’t you been following at the new blog location?

If you insist.. don’t forget to come to tonights Opening Reception for TEEM

Check out the video.

TONIGHT, March 11, 8PM

Please visit us at our new location!:

We here are fortunate to share a wonderful second space with Jordana Martin of Oak Knit Studio. In this space, upstairs from TAC, is where the Artist Residency and resource library are housed. In addition, there is a second Gallery. So, for the first show in this new space, Tali Weinberg — one of our talented residents — will be curating a show and day of workshops based around May Day, celebrating the textile workers, artists, designers, and activists who make our world more beautiful and just:


Gallery Exhibition and May Day Celebration
Title: Good Work
Curated by Tali Weinberg
Textile Arts Center and Oak Knit Studio Gallery
May Day is a celebration of spring, rejuvenation, fertility and life—a day to dance and weave the Maypole. And it is a day to honor laborers, to mark the social and economic achievements of the labor movement in the US, and for workers around the world to celebrate their ties to an international community.
This May Day the Textile Arts Center and Oak Knit Studio are celebrating the textile workers, artists, designers, and activists who make our world more beautiful and just—all makers tied together by the products of our labor—all makers whose work tries to do good in a multitude of ways. Artists and designers are invited to submit works for the exhibit Good Work in the Oak Knit Studio Gallery for the months of May and June that address related themes, including but not limited to labor, justice, gender, care, fair trade, the hand, immigration, skill and craftsmanship. Feel free to interpret the theme of “Good Work” broadly.
Artists, designers, and activists are invited to submit proposals for interactive workshops and presentations on related themes to take place at the Textile Arts Center. We strongly encourage submissions that engage the community, that present creative possibilities for the future, or that draw attention to local and contemporary textile labor, be it craft or industry. For workshops and presentations, we encourage proposals that include hands-on activities and take advantage of TAC facilities such as the screen-printing and sewing equipment.

Exhibition Dates: April 29th – June 12th 2011
Opening Night: Friday, April 29th
Artist Talks: TBD
Interactive Workshops: Sunday, May 1st

About the curator:
Tali Weinberg is a Brooklyn-based activist, textile artist, teacher and scholar. She is currently an artist in residence at the Textile Arts Center.

I mentioned this exhibit on my blog yesterday but needed to have an excuse to further research the work of Anna Betbeze. She currently has an exhibit up at Kate Werble Gallery in NY and I cannot wait to check it out.

Anna is a young artist, under 35, originally from Alabama who went through the prestigious art program at Yale to end up as a working artist here in Brooklyn. Her work takes Flokati Rugs, think wool & shaggy, and she then dyes, beats, burns, and rips the work until it becomes a gorgeous but deconstructed skin of texture.

In a way her work is unclear, I remain unsure as what to take from it and her specific choice of canvas but in the end they are gorgeous abstract objects that have a more textural and therefore physical experience then most works of this style.

Her NY Times review by Karen Rosenberg beautifully said:

(The shows title, Moss Garden) refer to Michel Foucault, who lectured that “the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space.” Fortunately the artworks don’t take themselves as seriously; they have a wonderfully forlorn, abject quality that inspires more empathy than theory.

I love the reference to the Foucault quote but do not agree that these works do not take themselves seriously, I feel that the “forlorn” quality is the “seriousness” of the work and though very abstract they also must be incredibly textural and through the process quite distressed and overworked.

I cannot help but wonder what the role of that deconstruction is… I feel that if an artist is choosing to take something and then in essence destroy it to make something new that there must be intention behind this act and I am curious to what Anna’s intention is.

Visually these works intrigue and satisfy, conceptually I still have questions and have much more ambiguous feelings but needless to say I cannot wait to head to the city and see them myself this weekend.

It would make a great day to see this show on the same trip.

Read another thoughtful review here.

Until next time keep your needle threaded.

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

(via unconsumption)

Most of all, we like to think of this day as a good excuse to stop our crazy lives and just spend time making something special for that special someone (or for the all the special someones) in our life.

Last post I talked about my take on the million dollar art market and all of its many faceted complicated layers, so if you missed my post last time go check it out here. But today I will be focusing on the 2nd question posted to me:

What do I think about the expectation put on artist’s to be Mona Lisa famous in order to be successful?

In short, I think it is a shame. But I also do not think it is true either. I think the bigger issue is how media, literature, and old school professors romanticize the idea of the “artist” as the solitary figure, working like a mad man on their work, inspired by a flash of light. Being an artist in real life is NOT romantic, it is not easy, and I do not think any artist ever got shot with a flash of light-like inspiration.

Lauren DiCioccio

I think in general there is this “idea” that an artist chooses his or her art over life and that they essentially live, breathe, eat their art, that they are naturally blessed with their talent and success like magic, and they do not care if they make money, eat food, or have a nice apt.- and to me that is bull.  I actually have a friend who was quite talented whom gave up on his path as a writer because he could not fulfill the romantic idea of the writer. Though in truth he could write very well.

John Singer Sargent

I feel that this over romanticized idea of the artist perpetuates the “Mona Lisa” famous myth.  In other words it encourages this idea that you are nothing as an artist unless you are a bonified celebrity with your art.  I find this entire idea completely ridiculous as many of the most well-known artists of the past were never truly recognized for their art until they were dead, but yet they kept painting or sculpting or creating and kept getting by even thought during their lifetime they were never famous.

The celebrity artist truly began with Andy Warhol and has rolled like a snowball getting bigger and bigger. But to me it simply does not matter.  In the end the artist get’s to decide what “success” is not any one else.  To me the best art is made by artists whom are motivated by their passion and their intention rather than if they are in a “successful” gallery or not, or how much their work is selling for.  They make art because they are artists.

Cai Guo Quiang at the Guggenheim

To me the pressure in academia and media to become the next “big thing” perpetuates the over blown art prices and the shoddy work that is selling for those prices. Academia simply wants a “big” name they can spout out to alumni and prospective students, galleries want to drive prices up for their own pocket books (though only very few galleries make much money) and the artist’s have the choice to buy into it and only feel successful when they model for a Fashion Designer or have a show at the Guggenheim. But to me this is the artist’s fault for believing the myth.

Tracey Emin modeling for Vivienne Westwood.

The reality is that the true success of an artist is they keep making, they keep sharing, they keep telling their story, and hopefully they keep their integrity too.  Yes, we all want to make a good living off our art, and sure I would love to be represented by a blue chip gallery and never have to worry about how I am going to pay for my studio again. But to me this is a sign of financial success and there are many other forms of success that are more important to me. Showing up to my work everyday is success.

Adam Brouilette successful Ohio Artist that I love.

There are thousands of artists in this country that most of us have never heard of that support themselves with their work, they are successful regardless of the fact that no one has written about them in Variety or maybe they have never even been to New York.

Studio Painting by Andrew Lenaghan

To me success is a sticky word. And I prefer to stay unstuck. My life philosophy is imagine what you want to wake up and do everyday.  If you do that thing, even if for just an hour, than you are living a successful life. Even if you do not have the money to buy a Gucci bag.

So I say screw the myth and just make your art.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

What a busy week! We’ll leave you with a nice, relaxing film put together by Etsy about a 91-year old Alaskan moccasin-maker named Mabel. We want our own Mabel moccasins to kick around this weekend…

Students will be finishing up the last class of Shoe-Making 101: North American Footwear, where they got to choose from 17 different designs for their leather shoes.

If you missed this round of Shoe Making, you can join in April! Check it out.


(courtesy Craft Zine)

Textile arts are rarely associated with the stillness, quietude, and self-conscious theatricality of minimalism and post-modernism. Often the phrase “textile arts” erroneously encourages on to conjure visions of patchwork , crazy quilts, and large swaths of bright weavings. One of the great successes of the Textile Art Center is its persistent expansion of our understanding of textile art’s limitations and vulnerabilities through its diverse exhibitions program.

MoMA PS1, too, is currently contributing to the reframing of textile arts in a contemporary context with its current exhibition of the paintings of Berlin-based artist Sergej Jensen. The term “paintings” here is used loosely and echoes the words of artist Ghada Amer (in a presentation recently featured on the TAC blog). Created from a diverse selection of found textiles, Jensen’s works on view include both pieces produced over the past eight years, as well as a number of new works created on site in a studio in PS1. His large canvasses echo the staunch minimalism of Callum Innes and Barnett Newman, and Jensen is remarkable in his ability to replicate the themes of classic abstraction in traditionally maximalist materials like silks, cashmere, diamond dust, and wool.

Jensen’s “paintings” invite the viewer to evaluate the traces of the artist’s mark on the fabric. Silks are pulled and stretched, wools are painted in oils, silk is powdered with diamond dust. Bleach, dye, and stitching are as important as color, shape, and balance. The intentional is lost in the accidental, a natural by-product of working with soft materials which are pulled, stressed, prodded, and manipulated. Jensen is able to physically shape images with the unique attributes found only in textiles and textile arts, balancing the forms of fabric with the classic shapes of modern art.

This exhibition is deceptively pictorial, the works challenging both as paintings and as pieces of textile art. Can painting and textile be so seamlessly combined? Is it possible to display both artistic expressions without one medium being lost or overtaken by the other? Jensen is masterful in the way he elegantly blurs these boundaries with a weighed consideration for his materials and their relationships.

A perfect example of Jensen’s talent for the balance between textile and painting is Blessed, a succinct and surprisingly poetic meditation on fabric and art history. The “painting” is simple in its composition: two pieces of sheer grey cashmere wool (one in a lighter shade, one in a darker shade) are sewn together, cutting the canvas in half horizontally. The resulting artwork looks like a horizon line—the endless expanse conjures references to traditional seascapes, Mark Rothko, and the Western landscape canon.

Sergej Jensen, Blessed, 2008, Sewn cashmere and thread
Collection of Charlotte and Bill Ford

United Nations is another work which sums up the possibilities for merging the two-dimensionality of painting with the multi-dimensionality of textiles and crafts. The piece features a rainbow-striped, machine-knit afghan stretched and sewn on a linen ground. By framing a piece of machine-made textile as a work of art, Jensen encourages the viewer to consider the divide between high and low art and the gulf between textiles and “fine arts.”

Sergej JensenUnited Nations, 2005Hand knitted wool on linen220 x 230 cm
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by
the Acquisition and Collection Committee

Jensen is consistent in his experimentation and thoughtful pursuit of found textile as a meaningful medium. His works are challenging, intelligent, and humorous statements about the imposed and negligible chasms between art media. Highly recommended.

Sergej Jensen is organized by the Aspen Art Museum. The exhibition is curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson and organized at MoMA PS1 by Peter Eleey, Curator of MoMA PS1.

Lauren Palmor’s experience in the art world has included positions at museums, art magazines, non-profits, and artist foundations. Read more at her blog

Thanks to Tali Weinberg, one of our talented Resident Artists, for compiling a list of “must see” shows in and around the NYC area (plus a few more we want to see):

Master of the Blue Jeans, Didier Aaron Gallery, through February 4

Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork, Whitney Museum, through February 13

Convergence, Lumenhouse, through February 15

Balenciaga: Spanish Master, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, through February 19

Kashmir Shawls at the Bruce Museum, through Feb 27th (Greenwich, CT)

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, Textile Museum, Washington DC, through March 13th (quick road trip anyone?)

AKWAABA: Weaving Unity Between Bonwire and Staten Island, Sung Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, through April 3rd

Art/Memory/Place: Commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Grey Gallery at New York University, through July 9 (closed March 27-April 11)

Knoll Textiles 1945-2010, Bard Graduate Center, May 18-July 31

Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformations on the Late 19th Century Northwest Coast, Bard Graduate Center, through April 17

Sergej Jensen, PS1, through May 2

The Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design, through May 15

Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, March 18-June 5

Rugs and Ritual in Tibetan Buddhism, Metropolitan Museum of Art, through June 26

A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles, Hebrew Union College Galleries, through June 30th

Have other recommendations? Let us know!

Hello all, sorry about my absence over here at the Textile Arts Center blog.  But now I am back and will be continuing my “Thread Reviews” every other Wednesday.  Yay!

Generally I use this forum to review and give my take on thread related show, artist, book, etc. hence the name Thread Reviews. However, today will be a little unusual.  Recently one of my blog followers contacted me and asked me an interesting question and since these posts are generally my opinion on something, I thought it was the perfect place to respond. Though is does not deal directly with fibers.

Damien Hirst

She asks:

I’ve been reading a book about the economics of contemporary art. The $12 million stuffed shark, to be exact. It’s been an eye opening read to the world of art.
I’ve discovered…that I love handmade art… And I see nothing wrong with artists striving to be featured on cool blogs, with a cyber following of normal people. But who also are involved with showing their work, and selling their work, but not with the main goal of making a million dollars. But it seems like our culture has created this expectation that kids who want to be artists have to be Mona Lisa famous to be successful. And that’s so annoying to me!

I’m curious what established artists, like yourself, feel about million dollar art auctions, art fairs, branded museums and branded artists.

I thought the question was really interesting and actually think I have a good basis of knowledge to answer so here goes. I feel like there are  2 questions here.

1. what do I think of the million dollar art market and artist?

2. What do I think about the expectation put on artist’s to be Mona Lisa famous in order to be successful.

Since those are BIG questions I can only give an opinion and will break it up with 1. this week and the 2. next time.

Jeff Koons

In general I am not personally into splashy, glamorous, million dollar art of the nature of Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.  But I am also not against it.  When I was a younger and more naive artist the thought of having a slew of assistants making my art and the artists hand being hardly present seemed totally ludicrous and often this is the very art that sells for millions and millions of dollars. But as my knowledge about the life of an artist, the experience of blue chip artists, and the understanding of contemporary art practices my opinion has softened.

I have had the luxury of working at  PaceWildenstein one of the highest level galleries in the country and personally interact with a handful of high selling artists in one way or the other.  This experience has allowed me to see first hand the pressure put on these high selling artists to make more, do more, produce more, and show more. The reality is if they are selling the gallery wants them to sell, sell, sell. As a result more assistants get hired, more integrity can get compromised, the work perhaps becomes more generic, or branded, but in exchange also more recognizable, the million dollar art machine churns.  And then the artist is often trapped within their own machine of art making.

Quickly they find themselves responsible for their livelihood, their assistant’s livelihood, their dealers main income, and often even more.

Damien Hirst

Now for some artist’s such as like Damien Hirst this works well for them. His work is not and has never been about him, as a person, or his hand as an artist. His work is very conceptually based therefore it simply does not matter if he makes it or someone else does.  Hirst is also always questioning the very art world that he exists in so to me it is quite ironic that as he pokes fun and questions the art world they just keep feeding him more and more. Literally and figuratively.

Kiki Smith

Now for other artists that make more sensitive work that comes from a highly personal place I think this trap of being a million dollar artist can be a much more difficult journey.  When your work is all about you and your hand you begin to lose quality when being pressured to produce more and let go of the making more and this can lead to a lack of consistency in the artists work.  A very bad side affect to the million dollar art market.

However, if our society is going to make it so that football players are going to get paid millions of dollars to play their sport than artist’s FOR SURE should get paid millions of dollars to create art and comment on our culture and society.  Especially since these very artists are employing and supporting many of us more normal folks through assistantship’s and gallery jobs. We need someone to make money in art or none of us do.

John Currin

Rather then holding the million dollar artist up on the cross I would be more likely to hold up a mirror to our culture that supports this.  It would be so much nicer if most art collecting was not all about the investment but about the love of the art. But in this current culture and commercialized world this is simply not the case. I have known of collectors that will buy a piece that they have never seen in person, based on investment value only, and have it shipped directly to a storage facility. Perhaps owning it for years and never seeing it hung or installed. To me this is the atrocity.

Gagosian Gallery

As artists, yes we all want to make a living on our art and in general the more successful we become the more expensive that living becomes and the more people we are responsible for. But I doubt any of us want to sell a piece of art that we care about so see it sit in a crate never to be looked at again just because it gets us paid.  But then again we all gotta eat.

Parlor Antics a Brooklyn based, artist run, exhibition space.

To me the real problem is with the gallery industry. Most gallerist’s are looking for what will sell. This alienates a huge pocket of artists that are working in less traditionally areas such as performance, sound, and installation. Therefore these artists, no matter how talented, have an even bigger struggle sharing their work let alone making a living off of it. But even in the more traditional mediums it is too often not about “I want to show this artist because I love them.” but instead “I can sell this work.”  I think the answer becomes that the artists have to push back against this commodification of the gallery industry.  We have to demand more respect from our gallerist. Not be afraid to out a gallerist for bad behavior, such as NOT PAYING artists for their sold artwork. (I kind of think that would be called stealing in most worlds.) But their has been a dynamic set up where artists are so often so afraid to offend someone – that they end up screwed somehow in the end.

Starn Brothers MTA installation.

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel in that there are more and more artists rejecting the traditional gallery role but self-promoting, showing in different non-traditional venues, and selling their work directly.  This is even being seen in high level artist such as the Starn Brother’s, who represent themselves and recently installed a permanent piece in the NYC subway system. But we are a long way from Brigadoon.


Now to Art Fairs.  Well to me they SUCK.  Most art was not intended to be seen in a “mall ” situation where there is no consideration to the environment, the relationships to other work, oh how the list goes on.  Most serious artists would never apply to a show that is held in some “pseudo” art space where as much art as possible is shoved into an ugly, poorly lit room. So why are we all scrambling to show at these.  Exhibition spaces are meant to be a place where you can see art in the best way possible, having the space and appropriate environment to allow the art to tell us its story.  Art Fairs strip the art down to a thing to buy.  Again the gallery industry and the collectors are to blame but as artist’s we can make the choice to feed the beast or not.

Mixed Greens Gallery, Chelsea, NY, NY.

I think a huge part of the problem is a lack of education for many collectors.  They now about investing but not about the experience and role of art as much, most people that have the money to invest in art are not artists. Gallerist’s often feed this lack of knowledge as it generates easier sales instead of taking the time to teach their collectors. One Chelsea based exception that jumps out at me is Mixed Greens Gallery, far from a million dollar gallery, but a very respected and successful space. They focus on emerging artists, selling work at prices that a young collector can invest in. Their mission is not only to support the artist but to educate and grow a collector. If more galleries took this model more artists would be making a living as an artist.

Louise Bourgeois

In addition there is a huge problem with the million dollar artist industry as it  is almost exclusively made up of white men making work that is fabricated instead of made by hand. But this is the ongoing issue in the art world in general.  I would love to see more women artists like the rare Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois joining the ranks of top-selling artists.  But sadly I will not hold my breath.

So wow that was a ramble. Hopefully somewhat coherent. But just a glimpse into my take on the million dollar art industry. Oh such a layered and complicated beast.

To be continued.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

All images belong to respective copyright holders.