Craft and contemporary art
- Maria Elena Buszek
Interest in the subject of ‘craft’ in the contemporary art world grew at the start of the 21st century, as artists with conceptually oriented studio practices increasingly turned to media and processes associated with handicrafts or decorative arts, such as knitting, stitching, weaving, pottery, glass-blowing, and woodworking. In this so-called ‘information age’ the sensuous, tactile ‘information’ of craft media spoke of a direct connection to an endangered humanity, or at least to a humanity being rapidly reconfigured in a technologically saturated world. Many artists returned to old-fashioned, handmade materials, images, and objects seeking balance in a high-tech world. Others were drawn to the familiarity of utilitarian media such as cloth, ceramics, glass, or wood, which are often invisible due to their ubiquity in our everyday lives; they made work that directs audiences’ attention to the extraordinary potential of these seemingly ordinary craft materials and techniques. In all cases, these artists entered into a dialogue over the distinctions between ‘art’ and ‘craft’ that have been debated since the early modern era....