Now that the semester has begun, the time for sewing is pretty limited. But, I'm still making entries in my fabric notebook, and got to take the train to NY for an overnight last week for a heavy dose of art and literature. Good times.
The MOMA gave me lots of inspiration, starting with some photographs by Georgia O'Keefe (I'd never seen any of her photos before). Strangely, my own hands are reflected in this woman's:
On my way out of the museum, I spent some time with this piece by El Anatsui; I'd seen it through a doorway when I walked to the second floor, and was saving it for last. The Boston MFA has one of his pieces as well, and I saw another in Paris; I soak them up where I find them. I love the combination of pounded-down caps and bits of metal in this great woven piece, and I learned on this visit that he allows the exhibition staff to bend the piece as they see fit--an interesting element of interaction/collaboration.
The dripping red is haunting in this one. I've been thinking a lot about labor and consumerism, and this piece with its hundreds of bottle caps and metal scraps makes me think about that. And in one of the classes that I'm teaching, we're reading work by Chinua Achebe (from Nigeria, of course, where El Anatsui lives and works). We'll look at El Anatsui's work in class. The most marvelous Art21 has an episode about him available online: http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/el-anatsui There, you can really see how flexible the pieces are (he calls them "fluid") during an installation.
And, his work was recently shown at the Brooklyn Museum, and here's what they have to say about it:
"The metal wall works, created with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, are pieced together to form colorful, textured hangings that take on radically new shapes with each installation. Anatsui is captivated by his materials’ history of use, reflecting his own nomadic background. Gravity and Grace responds to a long history of innovations in abstract art and performance, building upon cross-cultural exchange among Africa, Europe, and the Americas and presenting works in a wholly new, African medium."
I also saw one of Andy Warhol's Rorschach pieces:
and came home and made my own, sewn ode to Andy's:
I think it looks like a deer head. What do YOU see?