Monday, November 04, 2013

Odds and ends

In my last post I mentioned the cool piece, by Abby Miller, that Sofia and I saw at the Portland Art Museum. The link I posted was wrong, but a couple of people were nice enough to send me good links. This is a cool video of Abby Miller putting the piece together with zippers in a exhibition setting.

Here is the actual piece. It is really pretty cool. Large enough to stand under. She had several similar pieces in the Portland show, but this red one really stood out.

On a different note—There is a discussion going on on the QuiltArt list about art and craft and the differences or not. It is an oft-repeated discussion as new people join the list, but it is always interesting. I think what I have learned through so many of these discussions is that the word "art" is imprecise and defined in many ways, and after staunchly defending my definition for years, I no longer really care. If you want to call a velvet Elvis painting art, that's fine with me.  One of the elements of this morning's discussion revolved around quilts and whether bed quilts are art or not or if they aren't originally art, do they become art when you hang them on the wall? As it happens, I have an old wool quilt hanging on the wall in my living room. It was undoubtedly made, originally, for a bed. I told the story of how I came into its possession back here.

Is it art now that it is hanging on the wall? Not by my own personal definition, but what it is, is something handmade and beautiful and something I still love looking at. Which, when I think about it, may be one definition of art after all.


  1. Terry -- your definition (as rendered here) is as good as any. I'm thinking that the latest post on the new and revived Ragged Cloth deserves some commentary. The post is about the quilt art that won the $200,000 (that's right -- two hundred thousand dollars) prize in a popular contest in, I think, Minnesota (Check Ragged Cloth for details). But none of the "high art" judges liked anything the popular vote went to.

    I'm thinking that aesthetic perceptions are so dictated by experience, knowledge, and personal histories that all discussions are bound to come down to whatever you want them to be. This isn't the way the financial collectors like to think of it, of course, and they have a whole host of self-interested folks who would agree with them (all of those folks have a different personal history, mostly involving high finance). But -- I'm putting my money on bringing to bear lots of experience (educational and life) and adding in some personal taste. I would push handmade (or painted) and beautiful along the way, 'cause I think those attributes will make people who own such things happier. IMHO, of course --snort--

  2. The definition "Craft is useful, Art is not" is a favorite definition and always makes me smile. There's some truth to it. I find it interesting that the definition of Art is nearly always a comparitive one, and as June said, varies from person to person. Fun to read the discussions though. People get quite intense occasionally.