“Material Difference” focuses on fiber works from the 1960s to present day, marking the practice’s shift from domesticated and decorative to highly conceptual. Consider these two strains of practice (convention and subversion) as warp and weft; at each intersection exists the possibility for one to overtake the other. With 116 works from more than 150 international artists, this exhibition promises an exhaustive look into how textile art has not only come to terms with itself, but also how it rivals painting and sculpture for a leading spot in the dialogue of contemporary art. What was once derogatorily perceived as a craft is now at the forefront of innovation. Often fiber artists speak about their materials and their labor as their sole concept. Yet, this exhibit maintains that fiber work can also contain a political bent. Expect several Chicago-based artists, several of whom have given fiber its leading edge in the art world. (Jason Foumberg)
Material Difference shows at the Chicago Cultural Center, 311 West Superior, (312)751-9500, through November 25, 2006.