The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue – 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。

An imposing wooden structure bisected with lines of thread greets visitors head-on at the entrance of the current Anni Albers show at the Tate Modern. The contraption – a shaft countermarch loom – is echoed at the end of the exhibition, with a Structo Artcraft loom that was used by Albers herself. As the UK’s first major retrospective of Alber’s work, the galleries are filled with over 350 objects, ranging from her geometric wall hangings to textiles for interiors and architecture, her writing, and prints and drawings. Bookending the exhibition with the tools of her trade ensures the method of creation is kept at the very heart of the show: this is unapologetically about a textile artist. 


The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue - 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。

Anni Albers, Intersecting, 1962, pictorial weaving, cotton and rayon, 400 x 419 mm. Courtesy: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, DACS, London

Anni Albers marked a momentous step for fibre arts when the former Bauhaus student became the first weaver to have a significant solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949. Nearly 70 years later there has been a resurgence of textile arts on gallery walls, and the Albers exhibition is part of the Tate Modern’s commitment to showing artists working in this medium. In 2015 they held a retrospective of abstract artist Sonia Delaunay who worked across a number of areas including textiles and clothing. Around the country there has also been an increase in the display of textiles. In 2017 ‘Entangled: Threads and Making’ at the Turner Contemporary challenged the classifications of fine art, design and craft through the work of more than 40 female artists whose work included disciplines ranging from embroidery and weaving to wood carving. 

Artforms using textiles have existed for millennia but have not always been held in such high esteem in the art world. The artificial divide that exists between fine art and textiles (or applied/decorative arts, or craft) is a gendered issue. ‘Textiles have always suffered as an art media because of their association with domesticity and femininity,’ says Hannah Lamb of The 62 Group of Textile Artists, an artist-led pressure group that has been promoting textiles as a fine art for nearly 60 years. Historically, textiles have been labelled ‘women’s work’, and dismissed as inferior to pursuits such as painting and sculpture. But this has not always been the case. 


The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue - 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。

Sonia Delaunay, ‘The EY Exhibiton: Sonia Delaunay’, 2015, installation view, Tate Modern, London. Courtesy: Tate Modern, London; photograph: Tate Photography

Medieval English embroidery known as Opus Anglicanum was prized around the world for its skill and artistry. Made by both women and men, it signified the pinnacle of luxury in medieval Europe. Enjoying an international reputation, it was prized at royal courts and was commissioned by ecclesiastics for use on liturgical vestments. It was during the Renaissance that the separation of art and craft became more apparent, and a hierarchy developed that saw fine art – with its masculine associations – prized over the craft of stitching. This was accelerated in the 18th century with the academization of the art world. The Royal Academy was founded in 1768, and less than 18 months later a rule was passed that regulated what could be admitted for exhibition. Needlework was banned, outlawed from the realm of high art along with shell work and artificial flowers.

Competence with a needle had become a marker of fashionably refined middle and upper-class femininity by the 19th century, something the feminist art historian Rozsika Parker made clear in her book The Subversive Stitch (1984), one of the first studies to examine the marginalization of women’s work in the hierarchy of art and craft. To know the history of embroidery’ she wrote, ‘is to know the history of women.’ At the time Parker was writing, this notion was being challenged by Second Wave feminist artists who attempted to reclaim stitch away from its associations with oppression, showing it could instead be used as a tool to fight the patriarchy, and to give a voice to previously voiceless groups. Judy Chicago’s ‘The Dinner Party’ (1974-79) is an epic retelling of women’s history in a stitched installation that was dismissed as ‘kitsch’ by the male critic of The New York Times.


The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue - 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。

Bayeux Tapestry. Courtesy: Wikimedia

In a documentary airing on BBC Radio 4 this week, I explore a current wave of contemporary artists who are again transforming the image of embroidery, challenging historical and cultural preconceptions and making progressive, often political work. Textile and performance artist Raisa Kabir was trained as a weaver and incorporates sound and video into her work. She highlights how the gendering of embroidery in European history not only marginalizes the practice through sexism, but also ignores global histories and experiences of people of colour, turning it into a radically political artform. ‘The notion that it’s inherently about white feminism and embroidery is this Victorian white, Western phenomenon – I don’t resent it, I just think that’s a misconception … politics and textiles for me are intertwined, they’re not separate.’

Political stitching also has historical precedent. Pre-dating Opus Anglicanum, the Bayeux Tapestry (technically an embroidery, not a tapestry) is arguably the most celebrated example of Anglo-Saxon art. There is political ambiguity throughout the piece, at times it appears sympathetic to King Harold, although it’s likely meant to function as a form of Norman propaganda. The embroidery was long believed to have been the work of Queen Mathilda, William the Conqueror’s wife. But this has been superseded by the argument that it was produced by English needleworkers – likely women, possibly nuns in Canterbury – as there was already a tradition of embroidery that would flourish in following centuries.


The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue - 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。

Anni-Albers in her weaving studio, 1937, Black Mountain College. Courtesy: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

In the mid-16th century Mary Queen of Scots was seen as a threat by Elizabeth I as she had a strong claim to the throne, and was championed by Catholic subjects during Elizabeth’s Protestant rule. She was kept under house arrest and spent much of her time embroidering, threading covert symbols that were her only means of expression. A phoenix to represent immortality and regeneration, and a cat and mouse that hinted at the relationship between herself and the English queen. Her needle allowed her the only means of resistance while she was under constant surveillance. 

The time invested in hand embroidery lends a permanence and gravitas to messages conveyed in this way, and it became a medium of choice for political banners. The Artists’ Suffrage League, founded by Mary Lowndes in 1907, created embroidered banners for the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies that were carried in some of the earliest large-scale demonstrations held in support of women’s enfranchisement. Embroidered banners were also used by Trade Unions and the cooperative movement.


The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue - 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974–1979, mixed media, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Collection of the Brooklyn Museum. Courtesy: © Judy Chicago

The subversion of embroidery for political purposes belies its dominant purpose within fashion history as an expensive and decorative marker of the wealthy and elite. Yet exploring hidden histories and questioning the established hierarchy of art and craft is also reaching fashion ateliers. Hand & Lock is an embroidery brand which has roots tracing back to 1767. Based in London, they produce embroidery for the British military, the Royal Family, Savile Row tailors and European fashion houses. In 2000 they initiated an embroidery prize to support new generations of stitchers, and in 2016 introduced a Textile Art category which now receives more submissions that the Fashion category. ‘This increasing trend continues to blur the line between craft and art’ says Sophie Carr, the Prize Co-ordinator at Hand & Lock. ‘We often see submissions that contain meaningful messages about the transient state of the modern world conveyed through stitch.’ 

‘In Stitches’ explores contemporary radical embroidery, and airs on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30am on 15th November. Presented by Amber Butchart, it’s A Curtains For Radio production produced by Louise Morris and Andrew McGibbon for BBC Radio 4. 

Main image: Anni Albers, Wall Hanging, 1926, mercerized cotton, silk, 2 x 1.2 m. Courtesty: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Everfast Fabrics Inc., Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

Amber Butchart

Amber Butchart is a fashion historian, author and broadcaster who specializes in the historical intersections between dress, politics and culture. She was the presenter of BBC4’s six-part series ‘A Stitch in Time’ that fused biography and art to explore the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. Her latest book is The Fashion Chronicles: style stories of history’s best dressed. Find her on Twitter and Insta @AmberButchart

Opinion /

Anni Albers
Tate Modern
Amber Butchart

在泰特现代美术馆举办的当前安妮·阿尔伯斯展览的入口处,一座雄伟的木结构被线条分割成两半,迎面迎接来访者。这个装置——轴式逆行织机——在展览结束时与阿尔伯斯自己使用的结构艺术织机相呼应。作为英国对艾伯作品的第一次主要回顾,画廊里摆满了350多件物品,从她的几何壁挂到室内和建筑用纺织品、她的写作、印刷品和绘画。用她所从事的行业的工具预订展览会可以确保创作方法始终是展览的核心:这毫无疑问是关于一个纺织艺术家的。g,1962,图案编织,棉和人造丝,400×419毫米。礼貌:约瑟夫和安妮阿尔伯斯基金会,艺术家权利协会(ARS),纽约,DACS,伦敦安妮阿尔伯斯标志着纤维艺术的重大步骤,当前包豪斯学生成为第一个编织者在1949的现代艺术博物馆有一个重要的独奏表演。将近70年后,美术馆墙上的纺织艺术重新兴起,而阿尔伯斯展览是泰特现代美术馆致力于展示艺术家在这种媒介下工作的一部分。2015年,他们举办了一次关于抽象艺术家索尼娅·德劳奈的回顾会,她在包括纺织品和服装在内的多个领域工作。在全国范围内,纺织品的陈列量也在增加。2017年,特纳当代艺术中心的《纠缠:线条和制作》挑战了美术、设计和工艺品的分类,40多位女艺术家的作品包括刺绣、编织和木雕等学科。在艺术世界里,它已经有几千年的历史了。在美术与纺织品(或应用/装饰艺术或工艺)之间存在的人为分化是一个性别问题。“纺织品作为艺术媒介,一直受到折磨,因为它们与家庭生活和女性气质有关,”62个纺织艺术家团体的汉娜·兰姆说。62个纺织艺术家团体是由艺术家领导的压力团体,近60年来一直将纺织品作为艺术品进行宣传。在历史上,纺织品一直被贴上“女性作品”的标签,并被贬低为低于绘画和雕塑等艺术追求。但情况并非总是这样。tm_press_sonia_delaunay_2015_0504.jpg The Artificial Divide Between Fine Art and Textiles is a Gendered Issue - 美术与纺织品之间的人为分化是一个性别问题。 Sonia Delaunay,“EY展览:Sonia Delaunay”,2015,安装图,Tate.,伦敦。礼仪:泰特现代,伦敦;照片:泰特摄影。中世纪英国刺绣,被称为英国圣公会,因其技艺和艺术而受到全世界的褒奖。无论男女,它都标志着中世纪欧洲奢华的顶峰。它享有国际声誉,在皇家法庭上受到奖励,并受教士委托用于礼仪服饰。在文艺复兴时期,艺术和工艺的分离变得更加明显,一种等级制度发展起来,看到美术——及其男性的联系——比缝纫工艺更受重视。这在十八世纪加速了艺术世界的学术化。皇家科学院成立于1768年,不到18个月后通过了一项规定,规定哪些作品可以参加展览。刺绣被禁止,从高雅艺术的领域,连同贝壳作品和人工花卉一起被禁止。到19世纪时,使用针的能力已经成为时尚优雅的中上层女性气质的标志,女权主义艺术史学家罗兹西卡·帕克在她的著作《颠覆性缝合》(1984)中明确指出,这是最早研究妇女边缘化的研究之一。在艺术和工艺的等级制度下工作。“了解刺绣的历史”她写道,“就是了解妇女的历史。”在帕克写作的时候,这种观念受到了第二波女权主义艺术家的挑战,她们试图从与压迫的联系里收回针脚。这表明,它可以作为一种工具来对抗父权制,并对先前无声的团体发表意见。朱迪·芝加哥的《晚宴》(1974-79)是一部史诗般的重述女性历史的作品,这部作品被《纽约时报》的男性评论家斥为“庸俗”。AdodoBayuxxTopStay.JPG WPAP602602IMG Bayux挂毯。礼貌:在本周BBC第四电台播出的一部纪录片中,我探讨了当代艺术家的浪潮,他们再次改变刺绣的形象,挑战历史和文化先入为主的观念,并且从事进步的,通常是政治性的工作。纺织和表演艺术家Raisa Kabir被训练成织布工,并将声音和视频融入到她的作品中。她强调了欧洲历史上的刺绣性别化不仅通过性别歧视将实践边缘化,而且忽视了全球有色人种的历史和经验,使其成为一个激进的政治手段。“关于白人女权主义和刺绣的本质概念就是这种维多利亚时代的西方白人现象——我并不憎恨它,我只是认为这是一个误解……政治和纺织品对我来说是交织在一起的,它们不是分开的。”政治缝纫也有历史公关。遗嘱。在圣公会天主事工会之前,Bayeux挂毯(技术上是刺绣,不是挂毯)可以说是盎格鲁-撒克逊艺术最著名的例子。整篇小说在政治上模棱两可,有时它似乎对哈罗德国王表示同情,尽管它很可能是作为诺曼宣传的一种形式发挥作用。刺绣被认为是征服者威廉的妻子Queen Mathilda的作品。但这已经被英国刺绣工人——可能是妇女,可能是坎特伯雷的修女——生产的论点所取代,因为刺绣的传统在接下来的几个世纪里将会蓬勃发展。1937年,黑山学院编织工作室的安娜·阿尔伯斯编织工作室。礼貌:约瑟夫和安妮阿尔伯斯基金会,艺术家权利协会(ARS),纽约和DACS,伦敦在16世纪中叶玛丽苏格兰女王被视为一个威胁伊丽莎白一世,因为她有强烈的王位要求,并在伊丽莎白期间受到天主教臣民的拥护。H的新教徒统治。她被软禁在家里,大部分时间都在刺绣、穿线作为她唯一的表达手段的秘密符号。一只代表永生和再生的凤凰,一只暗示她自己和英国女王之间关系的猫和老鼠。当她处于不断监视之下时,她的针让她成为唯一的抵抗手段。在手绣上投入的时间赋予了这种方式传达的信息以永久性和庄严性,并且它成为政治旗帜的选择媒介。由玛丽·洛恩德斯于1907年创立的艺术家选举权联盟为全国妇女选举权协会联合会制作了刺绣横幅,这些横幅在支持妇女获得选举权的最早的一些大规模示威活动中进行过。工会和合作社运动也使用绣花横幅。朱迪·芝加哥,晚宴,1974-1979年,混合媒体,伊丽莎白·A·萨克勒女性主义艺术中心,布鲁克林博物馆收藏。礼貌:朱迪·芝加哥.为了政治目的对刺绣的颠覆,使刺绣在时装史上作为富人和精英的昂贵和装饰性的标志所占的主导地位相形见绌。然而,探索隐藏的历史和质疑已建立的艺术和手艺层次也成为时尚工作室。手锁是一种根追溯到1767的刺绣品牌。总部设在伦敦,为英国军队、皇家家庭、萨维尔街裁缝和欧洲时装店生产刺绣。2000年,他们发起了一个刺绣奖来支持新一代的缝纫机,并在2016年推出了一个纺织品艺术类别,现在收到更多的意见比时尚类别。Hand&Lock的奖品协调员索菲•卡尔(Sophie Carr)说,这种不断增长的趋势继续模糊了工艺和艺术之间的界限。“我们经常看到包含有关通过针迹传达的现代世界过渡状态的有意义信息的稿件。”“In Stitches”探索当代激进刺绣,并于11月15日上午11:30在BBC电台4播出。由琥珀·布查特介绍,它是由路易斯·莫里斯和安德鲁·麦吉本为BBC电台制作的《收音机用窗帘》4.主图:安妮·艾伯斯,挂墙,1926年,丝光棉,丝绸,2×1.2米。库特西:大都会艺术博物馆,采购,永不褪色织物公司,爱德华·C.Moore Jr. Gift,约瑟夫和安妮阿尔伯斯基金会,艺术家权利协会(ARS),纽约和DACS,伦敦琥珀布图图琥珀布查图是时尚历史学家,作家和广播员谁专门In是服饰、政治、文化的历史交汇点。她是BBC4系列节目“时间之针”的主持人,该系列节目将传记和艺术融为一体,通过穿戴的服装来探索历史人物的生活。她最近出版的书是《时尚编年史》:历史上最着装的风格故事。在Twitter和Insta @AmberButchart Opinion/ Anni Albers Tex. Tate Modern Amber Butchart上找到她


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