A compendium of craft masquerading as art, art masquerading as craft, and craft extending its middle finger.

Monday, July 11, 2005

She's "Ghada" Have It


Another exhibition that I got to see during my trip to Kansas City was Ghada Amer: Naughty and Nice. Amer is an Egyptian-born artist who likes to intertwine use of craft media like embroidery with images of women lifted from pornography. The product is always very formal--from a distance, her large-scale paintings read as monumental abstractions. It is only upon closer inspection that the figures come into view. Amer lets the tails of the embroidery thread hang free, creating a craft analogue to Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. At first, the "paintings" left me a bit cold, but I gradually warmed to their monumentality and humanity--a tough balancing act. In the statement that accompanies the exhibition, Amer speaks of working with "double submission"--working in a craft medium that is associated with domesticity and femininity, and the use of pornographic images, considered taboo not only by Islamic standards, but by feminist ones as well.

The exhibition featured two paintings that were made during a residency in Kansas City specifically for the exhibition. Amer worked with a group of fifteen Kansas City Art Institute students, as well as her long-time collaborator and friend Reza Farkhondeh. H&R Block Artspace was kind enough to share three images with Extreme Craft, "Knotty But Nice", "Barbie Loves Ken, Ken Loves Barbie", and an installation view that gives a better idea of the scale of the new pieces. Another interesting artifact that I turned up was this review of her work from an Islamic point of view. It seems to me that Amer does a great job of tweaking everybody's expectations, including those who participate in craft culture.

1 Comments:

At 7/13/2005 09:45:00 PM, Blogger jessica said...

the "barbie loves ken, ken loves barbie" piece reminds me of a professor, elizabeth ingraham, at the university of nebraska-lincoln's work. she did a series of skins [i think between 20-30] total ... which are lifesize body suits that each are assigned a different attribute.

you can go to the following addresses to get a better idea:

http://www.culturalterrain.com/skins/skinshome.html

http://www.culturalterrain.com/skins/map.html

 

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