Friday, November 21, 2008

KnitKnit by Sabrina Gschwandtner

Conceived, curated and produced by artist Sabrina Gschwandtner, KnitKnit reflects a growing cultural interest in traditional crafts informed by a contemporary, critical perspective.

Traditional crafts offer a mode of working in which form and function are constantly engaged, situating them squarely in the center of contemporary art polemics. Perhaps as a reaction against both the homogeneity of mass market culture and the contemporary art that responds to it by mimicking its slick and seamless forms, young artists are discovering and creating craft and craft-like practices that have both utility and accessibility. Heirs to the do-it-yourself legacy of hippy, punk rock, and zine cultures, this new generation of craft artists are not necessarily against technology but rather employ existent materials, techniques, and sensibilities in a more immediate, hands on approach to art making. Knitknit acts not only as a forum for these ideas and practices with interviews, reviews, profiles and articles but also as an instructive tool (Issue #2 consisted entirely of arts and crafts making directions and recipes). In addition to the publication, Knitknit also produces, often in collaboration with other organizations, a wide range of other activities, including exhibitions, film and video screenings, and musical performances.

KnitKnit issues 1-7 with their limited edition covers are now included in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Library, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University and The Museum of Modern Art, New York- anyone can make an appointment with those institutions to read the KnitKnits there.

The KnitKnit book was published in September 2007.

sabrina gschwandtner lives in New York City and is the publisher/editor of KnitKnit. She graduated with honors from Brown University with a degree in art/semiotics, and also studied with Harvard Film Archive founder Vlada Petric at Harvard University, and with artist Valie Export at the Sommerakademie fur Bildende Kunst in Salzburg, Austria. Her work combines film, video and textiles in sculptural installations, and has been shown at the 1999 Venice Biennale, Deitch Projects, Art Basel Miami Beach, the Providence Convergence Arts Festival, the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design, and the Vienna Filmmuseum, among other venues. She has curated film and video screenings for Ocularis, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), and the Guild and Greyshkul Gallery.

New-York artist and KnitKnit creator, Sabrina Gschwandtner, remarked on the weird gap between the world of contemporary craft practice and that of critical debate. Since at least 2002 and the appearance of the first issue of her now-famous zine, Gschwandtner has been inspired by knitting’s public, social and inherently critical dimension. “Knitting can be anything from a form of graffiti, gift, performance, and sculpture,” she says “it is an empowering tool that allows people to think of social space.”


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