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Art and craft meet in experimental textiles by international artists
Installation view, Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists at MOCA Cleveland. Photo: Jerry Birchfield. © MOCA Cleveland 2016.

KATONAH, NY.- This summer, the Katonah Museum of Art presents Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists, an exhibition that studies some of the best contemporary art through the lens of craft: the woven carpet. Featuring seventeen artists from across the globe, the exhibition proves carpets to be a powerful agent of meaning today, one that cuts across subjects of design, art, décor, production, and geopolitics.

The “artist carpet” is a form that bears a long and distinguished pedigree, from Raphael and Peter Paul Rubens to Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Joan Mirò. Unlike exhibitions that examine artist carpets through an ethnographic lens, Wall to Wall takes as its point of departure the history of art, focusing on the ways in which the medium advances relevant explorations in contemporary artistic practice. The exhibition examines the increasing prominence of carpets in today’s art sphere and asks the simple question: Why?

The featured carpets embody a wide range of formal interests, from material, to color, to spatial composition. They simultaneously reveal diverse approaches to collaboration: between artist and weaver, artist and producer, artist and commercial business. These relationships show the blurring of traditional divisions between art, craft, and design, and emphasize shifts in artisanal traditions across the globe. Wall to Wall raises questions about the geopolitics of production and the art market as expressed in the carpet, and the ways in which both respond to the significance of the artist in creating value and demand.

“Wall to Wall presents a highly original take on a material that, while occupying a familiar role in our daily lives, is only now gaining wide recognition in the contemporary art world as a source for a diverse array of artists,” says Darsie Alexander, Executive Director of the Katonah Museum of Art. “This exhibition builds on the KMA’s history of introducing innovative perspectives on seemingly utilitarian mediums—such as clay and glass—showcasing the material’s surprising elasticity in the hands of artists. Such unexpected encounters offer a glimpse into an artist’s imagination and can prompt us to experience domestic items anew.”

The artist carpet demonstrates the interwoven nature of art, design, craft, industry, and sociocultural politics today. With range and depth, Wall to Wall reveals how and why artists are advancing contemporary art practice through this ancient yet persistent medium.

Artists include Polly Apfelbaum, Alan Belcher, Guillaume Bijl, Liam Gillick, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Joseph Kosuth, Ken Lum, Marilyn Minter, Sarah Morris, Paulina Olowska, Jorge Pardo, Richard Prince, Julião Saramento, Rosemarie Trockel, Christopher Wool and Heimo Zobernig.

The exhibition is organized by MOCA Cleveland and curated by Dr. Cornelia Lauf, independent curator.

Dr. Cornelia Lauf received her PhD in art history from Columbia University and began her career at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Lauf is the founder of Camera Oscura, an alternative space devoted to craft, art, and agriculture in Tuscany. She has organized exhibitions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art; Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Casa di Goethe, Rome; and Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. She co-founded the curatorial agency Golden Ruler in Rome and served as its artistic director. She lives and works in Rome.

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