Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) hosts “Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community”, a traveling exhibition examining lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) identities and ideas through fiber crafts. The three-month exhibition takes place at MICA’s Decker Gallery from December 11, 2015 – March 13, 2016.
Curated by John Chaich, “Queer Threads” showcases works of art from 26 artists from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Denmark who combine fine art traditions with thread-based craft materials and processes, including crochet, embroidery, knitting, lace, macramé, needlepoint, quilting and sewing, to show the diversity of LGBTQ experiences. The exhibition, making its Maryland debut at MICA, marks the first time the pieces have been displayed together for the purpose of connecting and highlighting their queerness.
The exhibition responds to the gender connotations, feminist herstories and power hierarchies situated within the history of fiber art and domestic handicrafts while examining the icons, tastes, roles, relationships and spaces socialized within and around gay and lesbian culture. “The artists in Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community are moving through the narrow space that is gay or straight, art or craft, to redefine personal identities and art practices through thread-based craft materials, techniques and processes,” says Chaich.
The exhibition includes works from artists such as Chris Bogia (New York), Melanie Braverman (Massachusetts), Jai Andrew Carrillo (California), Chiachio and Giannone (Argentina), Liz Collins (New York), Ben Cuevas (California), Pierre Fouché (South Africa), James Gobel (California), and Sabrina Gschwandtner (California), just to name a few.
In addition to the solo works, the exhibition has several collaborations including partners Chiachio and Giannone’s La Familia en la Fontana di Trevi, featuring hand embroidery with cotton threads, jewelry threads and rayon on fabric, Allyson Mitchell and Jessica Whitehead’s plastic cross stitch piece on sex and HIV- positive women commissioned by Toronto’s AIDS Action Now and L.J. Roberts’ The Queer Houses of Brooklyn in the Three Towns of Breukelen, Boswyck and Midwout during the 41st Year of the Stonewall Era, which includes button installations by Buzz Slutzky and is based on a piece created by Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky.
Complimenting the variety of fiber and textile works on view, “Queer Threads” features two film/video installations: Aubrey Longley- Cook’s animation featuring embroidery made by 25 community members from the Atlanta area, and an excerpt from Sabrina Gschwandtner’s 2008 film No Idle Hands, which documents the public action led by Liz Collins to create the massive rainbow pride flag seen in Collins’ site-specific installation.
“Queer Threads” exhibit start December 11, 2015 and ends on March 13, 2016. Events and exhibitions are free, unless a price is otherwise noted. Hours for MICA’s galleries, which are free and open to the public, are Mondays–Saturdays, 10 a.m.– 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon–5 p.m.