From Vision to Life

From Vision to Life

Queer Threads spreads

A look inside Queer Threads, edited by John Chaich.

Mark LaFavor
Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community

Mark LaFavor

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community
Edited by John Chaich, designed by Todd Oldham
AMMO Books, $40

Do crochet and queerness intersect?

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community answers that question with an intimate look at the 30 artists in the traveling exhibition of the same name curated by John Chaich.

Through exquisite photography, the first half of the book explores the work in fiber, thread, and cloth, its visual narratives and emotional content, highlighting a world of craft traditions reimagined through the lens of queer creativity and a queer passion for color.

The second half connects the artists with an exceptional group of 30 stars of dance, fashion, design, music, and other fields. These exchanges consider how textiles and queerness align – and diverge.

It’s not an obvious fit, as the interview with artist Liz Collins suggests. “Threads are not queer and are totally queer just like any other material, medium, art form,” she says. “A part of me doesn’t care much about this narrative, but on the other hand, I care deeply, because much of what I’m talking about in my art is my own queer story.” ~Michael Radyk
 


 

Theaster Gates: Black Archive

Black Archive

Mark LaFavor

Theaster Gates: Black Archive
Edited by Thomas D. Trummer, text by Romi Crawford
Kunsthaus Bregenz, $50

Theaster Gates often sees transformative potential where others do not.

Take, for example, the archive of what Gates has called “negrobilia” – objects depicting racist stereotypes of African Americans, which collector Edward J. Williams amassed with the intention of removing them from the market and thus the public eye. In Black Archive, based on Gates’ 2016 exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the artist displays and transforms Williams’ objects and other artifacts in a complex and labor-intensive body of work made from materials such as wood, clay, metal, rubber, and tar.

Detailed imagery of the objects and the installation, alongside a critically engaging historical examination and a contemplative dialogue with the artist, make Black Archive a transformative object in and of itself. ~Jessica Shaykett
 


 

The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life

The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life

Mark LaFavor

The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life
Edited by Sharon Louden
Intellect Books, $42

This sequel to the popular book Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists contains 40 wonderfully plainspoken stories of artistic life. Together, the first-person essays comprise a sort of accidental manual for finding a foothold and making a living while creating art that makes a difference in the larger community. The essays are lightly edited, and some are overlong. But they have the charm of honest testimony by pioneers who could not have really been prepared for their journeys, the dogged trial and error of their work.

Artists whose focus is on process and interaction, rather than product, must hack their own paths. And thank heavens they do. As Hyperallergic editor in chief Hrag Vartanian writes in the foreword, “Artists are our conscience; they are innovators, healers, chance-takers, and activists.” Our communities need these resourceful people, whether or not that is widely acknowledged.

Some creative people look at the market and ask, “What does it need?” Cultural producers, you could say, ask the same question of the cultural landscape – and set about trying to fill the need. ~Monica Moses