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The Dematerialization of the Craft Object: Performance Art and Contemporary Craft

By Nicole J. Burisch


Craft and performance art are both experiencing renewed significance within contemporary art. Correspondingly, practices, exhibitions, and works that combine features of both craft and performance art are appearing in the form of collaborative crafting, documentation of crafting events, live and public performance of craft work, and crafting as a tool for social and political projects. This thesis addresses the intersections of craft and performance art in select artworks and curatorial strategies from the exhibitions Common Threads at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary (2007), She Will Always Be Younger Than Us at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto (2009), and Gestures of Resistance at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland (2010). Centering on presentations that foreground the performance of crafting or craft-making as the central mode of the work, I argue that a comprehensive reading of these works must situate them not only within the history of craft, but also within the history and theories of performance art. By examining and drawing upon the history and strategies of performance art, this thesis proposes that the incorporation of performance art into craft calls into question the traditional view of craft as an object-centred practice. The notion of a dematerialized craft practice is considered in light of recent developments in craft theory that propose thinking about craft not as a set of objects or materials, but rather as form of knowledge or a as subject

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:

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