Saturday, June 15, 2013

Art reader's digest

from an exhibit review in Embroidery magazine (published in the UK), September/October 2004, by Angela Hesketh:

"While some of the work in (the show) is irreverent, the search for 'content' often upstages the medium and some of the work could have been better executed.  When content is championed over the handling of the chosen medium, it raises a further debate -- that of the value and status of textiles as an art form."


Do we agree?

Suppose the works had been paintings -- would the critic say that emphasis on content and possible poor execution call the value and status of painting as an art form into question?

Suppose the works had been paintings -- would a critic even bring up the issue of execution?

The whole thrust of contemporary art is to value content over technique -- does textile art deliberately want to distance itself from this historical development?


  1. Kathy, you make a very good point. What I see is that the textile artists are following the trend in that there appears to be great interest in content. In my opinion it often is not very successful but is executed with excellent technique.

  2. Kathy, in my opinion, I see what Terry does, except that the execution isn't necessary good either. Craft should come first. The idea that content supercedes craft has run amok in recent juried exhibitions. Yes, content is often praised in painting and has been a contentious point in art reviews. I wonder whether it is the jurors themselves who are to blame by not selecting well-thought-out work. By this I mean that they themselves are not as qualified to judge textiles as art because they are too close to the medium. And may be swayed by the content. I am dismayed at what I just witnessed at a major international art quilt show.

  3. I'm afraid I have to disagree with the previous comments. If fiber art and quilts especially ever want to break out of their ghettoes and be taken seriously in the mainstream art world, they will have to be concerned with meaning and content. Technique is not an end in itself but should serve content. I find the comments of the British reviewer very odd. It's as if she wants to deliberately marginalize and trivialize textiles by declaring content off-limits.