This week there have been three hits to my perception concerning art and craft. The first one actually goes back to an exhibition I saw in New York at the Modern Museum of Art. There were a number of textile pieces in this exhibition. The one that particularly drew my attention looked like a painting except it was a textile, mounted on stretcher bars so that from a distance it looked like a painting, abiet a very dark piece. When you were nearly touching it you could see that that it was knit, machine knit in dark brown with some green lettering through it. Unremarkable except for the card beside it raising the issue that Painting is at the top of the hierarchy and art and knitting, quilting craft and therefore at the bottom. She also references male vs female within that hierarchy.
Tracy Chevalier (via Anna Hergert) writes that she thinks quilts should be art. She comes to this by saying that “Art is not defined by how it is made, but by what it does to us.” Tracy goes on to say that to her “craft is something made to be admired and used, while art is made to get a response, to make us think or feel. ” That leads me to wonder then are large functional quilts intended as bed coverings craft and wall hangings art?
The third note came from Loraine Torrence’s introduction to “The Quilter’s Guide to Design Essentials. In it she asks “Are quilts art or craft?” “Should quiltmakers be considered artists? Should wall quilts demand the same prices as paintings, sculptures ad other works traditionally accepted as “fine art”.”
I think that many of us who create wall hangings or “art quilts” and and more mixed media creations would like to be recognized as artists. We certainly are in our own minds. I also think that we would like the recognition from others that our pieces can hang in public and private spaces and be granted shows in mainstream galleries. Part of that recognition is that our work command the prices that current works of art bring. I look forward to your thoughts on this.