Vitamin T – Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art


I received a book that was published early 2019 by Phaidon Press, called “Vitamin F – Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art”. It did make clear that the divide between art in a craft medium and fine art still firmly exists.
This book asked 108 curators and writers to nominate artists working with treads and textiles in a significant or innovative way. From the 113 artists they found only about 4 (older women) with a textile backgroud! Fine art prevailed.
Jenelle Porters statement “fibre´s traditional association with women´s work undermined the abstract, material experimentation of those artists who chose to use it” shows that she is aware of the problem. She gives her view on the history of textiles and does everything right as long as the revolutionary times from 1960 to 1970 are concerned. But after that she is missing whole developments, only mentioning those phenomens that made it into fine art history: e.g. the feminist art movement, the AIDS quilt project etc.
There is no mention of anything that happened in the world of textiles after the late 80s -early 90s, like the development of digital Jacquard weaving with Lia Cook as its most prominent representative, the new tapestry movement, the quilt movement with their biennials and triennials, both in the US and in Europe, the new felt makers movement. As the editor-in-chief of Textile Forum magazine I have witnessed all these developments that apparently are non-existant in the world of fine art. Call it arrogance or ignorance, the effect will be the same. We will need to write our own textile history

Beatrijs Sterk