These Artists Are Giving Knitting a Place in Art History
Subversive knitting. Radical crocheting. These phrases may sound contradictory, but marrying “craft” to “cool” has become commonplace in the last decade, as once-dowdy domestic hobbies have metamorphosed into trendy pastimes for the creative set. (Think knitting-focused Instagram accounts that draw hundreds of thousands of followers, and viral articles featuring knitted pajamas for chilly elephants.) In this atmosphere, the art world, too, has seen an uptick in the use of knitting and crocheting as a medium. But this is by no means a new phenomenon among artists.
As early as the 1970s and ’80s, artists like Louise Bourgeois, Faith Wilding, and Rosemarie Trockel employed knitting and crocheting as both a material and a feminist tool, connecting the history of craft as “women’s work” to that of repressive domesticity. Since then, countless contemporary artists have built on the work of these feminist pioneers, using knitting and crocheting to mine a wide range of themes. Below, we highlight eight creatives that prove knitting and crocheting can be boundary-pushing, politically charged mediums.
Yang builds her mesmerizing, delightfully absurd sculptures from everyday objects ranging from frosted lightbulbs to hair rollers to fake plants to hand-knitted cosies. While not all of her works incorporate knitted and crocheted elements, allusions to craft and homemade trinkets appear across her oeuvre. When paired with industrial materials and commercial products like clothing racks, Venetian blinds, and canned goods, they become icons for contradictory feelings of belonging and alienation, safety and suffocation that domestic life can inspire. more artists working in this medium at:
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