avaf aaxé vatapá alegria feijão, 2008 Wool, silk and artificial silk tapestry with metallic thread details 3.5 x 2.05m (11' 6" x 6' 8") Edition of 5 Copyright avaf. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and John Connelly Presents, New York
FRED TOMASELLI After Migrant Fruit Thugs, 2008 Wool background, silk birds with metallic thread detail 2.5 x 1.6m (8' 2" x 5' 4") Edition of 5 Copyright Fred Tomaselli. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery and Banners of Persuasion
BEATRIZ MILHAZES Carioca, 2008 Wool background, silk floral motif, tapestry 2 x 2m (6' 7" x 6' 7") Edition of 5 Copyright Beatriz Milhazes. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
FRANCESCA LOWE Trump, 2008 Wool and silk tapestry 2.5 x 2m (8' x 6' 8") Edition of 5 Copyright Francesca Lowe. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Riflemaker, London
GARY HUME Georgie and Orchids, 2008 Wool tapestry with raised silk embroidery 2.5 x 2.05m (8' x 6' 10") Edition of 5 Copyright Gary Hume. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and White Cube, London
GAVIN TURK Mappa Del Mundo, 2008 Wool, silk tapestry and metallic thread tapestry 3.13 x 2m (10' 3" x 6' 7") Edition of 5 Copyright Gavin Turk. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Sean Kelly, New York
GRAYSON PERRY Vote Alan Measles for God, 2008 Wool needlepoint 2.5 x 2m (8' 2" x 6' 7") Edition of 5 Copyright Grayson Perry. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Victoria Miro, London
JAIME GILI Zelada, 2008 Wool, silk and artificial silk tapestry 2.5 x 2.14m (8' 2" x 7') Edition of 5 Copyright Jaime Gili. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Riflemaker, London
JULIE VERHOEVEN Far from The Madding Crowd, 2008 Wool and silk tapestry 2.75 x 2.05m (9' 0" x 6' 10") Edition of 5 Copryright Julie Verhoeven. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Riflemaker, London
KARA WALKER A Warm Summer Evening in 1863, 2008 Wool tapestry with hand cut felt silhouette figure 1.75 x 2.5m (5' 9" x 8' 2") Edition of 5 Copyright Kara Walker. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
PAUL NOBLE villa joe, 2008 Wool tapestry 4.48 x 4.56m (14' 8" x 14' 11") Edition of 5 Copyright Paul Noble. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Gagosian Gallery, New York
PETER BLAKE Alphabet, 2008 Wool, silk and artificial silk tapestry 1.8 x 1.8m (5' 11" x 5' 11") Edition of 5 Copyright Peter Blake. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion, Waddington Galleries and Paul Stolper, London
SHAHZIA SIKANDER Pathology of Suspension, 2008 Wool and silk tapestry with raised silk embroidery 2.7 x 1.86m (8' 10" x 6' 1") Edition of 5 Copyright Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, Banners of Persuasion and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Demons, Yarns & Tales featuring hand-woven tapestries created by thirteen internationally renowned artists, including avaf, Peter Blake, Gary Hume, Jaime Gili, Francesca Lowe, Beatriz Milhazes, Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, Shahzia Sikander, Fred Tomaselli, Gavin Turk, Julie Verhoeven, and Kara Walker. The exhibition was created by the London-based art organization, Banners of Persuasion, who commissioned each artist to design a tapestry, a medium foreign to his or her usual practice. Three years in the making, the collection was briefly shown at the end of 2008 at The Dairy, London and at Miami Basel and is now traveling to James Cohan Gallery for its premiere viewing in New York. In addition, the gallery will be present a small-scale exhibition of drawings and other relevant works by selected participating artists.
Although Tapestry is more often associated with decorative or applied arts and has faded as a primary art medium in the age of mechanization and mass-production, it has been continually explored by prominent visual artists such as Picasso, Kandinsky, Warhol and more recently Chuck Close, Craigie Horsefield and William Kentridge. This exhibition actively invites viewers to re-think and re-address this rich and complex historical medium in the realm of contemporary art practice.
Confronting the challenge of working in an unfamiliar territory, the artists approached the new medium in various different ways. They translated their familiar languages of paint, paper, drawing, collage, ceramics into that of silk and wool and the hand-woven stitch, thus transforming their unique visual language. In After Migrant Fruit Thugs (2008), Fred Tomaselli maintains the hallucinatory visions that radiate from the original wood panel work of the same title while trading his frequent use of unorthodox materials such as drugs and hemp for silk and gold threads to create two luxurious birds of paradise set against a fantastical nocturnal backdrop. Paul Noble transfers the draughtsmanship and humour of his meticulous graphite drawings of the fictional city, Nobson Newtown, to an aerial view of villa joe (2008) formed of intricate woven stitches.
The diverse range of subjects includes fictive landscapes, architectural abstraction, fashion and flora and the politics of race, gender, international conflict and the environment. Kara Walker's A Warm Summer Evening in 1863 (2008) uses an image published in Harpers Magazine during the American Civil War, captioned 'The Destruction of the Coloured Orphan Asylum on 5th Avenue.' A black silhouette of a lynched female figure hangs in front of this historical scene of racially motivated violence. Grayson Perry invites us to Vote Alan Measles for God (2008) in a tapestry littered with images that we associate with the perceived threat of global terrorism – Osama bin Laden, the Twin Towers and guarded oil fields – following the historical tradition of using the medium to tell stories of power struggles and war; in effect creating a Bayeux tapestry for modern times. The opening flower petals of Beatriz Milhazes' Carioca (2008) suggest the movement of a kaleidoscope or the random cycle of a computer screensaver while contemporary Indian headpieces cascading over traditional floral patterns in Shahzia Sikander's Pathology of Suspension (2008) reveal the artist's on-going interest in craft traditions.
The exhibition is accompanied by an exquisite catalogue published by Damiani which includes an essay by Sarah Kent as well as studio portraits and interviews with each artist about their journey through the unknown world of Tapestry.
For further information please contact Jane Cohan at firstname.lastname@example.org and 212-714-9500.