Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art

Phaidon. Apr. 2019. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9780714876610. $75. FINE ARTS
This latest in Phaidon’s “Vitamin” series offers a broad view of textile use in contemporary art. For generations, predominantly female fiber artists pushed the boundaries of their medium, moving it far beyond traditional craft. Today, techniques such as weaving, embroidery, and surface design are used to produce sculpture, installations, and performance art. Former Institute of Contemporary Art Boston curator Porter’s introductory essay provides a concise history of the field, creating a time line that situates the artists’ profiles which follow. More than 100 artists from around the world are highlighted, nominated for inclusion by leading curators and art writers. Established artists such as Tracey Emin and Kiki Smith are included alongside younger artists such as Oscar Murillo and Hardeep Pandhal. A short biography, exhibition record, and three or more works are showcased for each artist.
VERDICT This is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary art or textiles and beautiful documentation for those familiar with the artists. It’s also an excellent introduction to the diversity of the fiber art medium. The textured cover, however, while in keeping with the theme, could be a concern for libraries.
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