Commissioned book chapter for Exhibiting Craft and Design Transgressing the White Cube Paradigm, 1930–Present, edited by Alla Myzelev, Routledge, 2017, pp.160-180.
The chapter considers craft’s potential to create social bonds in projects by contemporary artists Carole Frances Lung and Nadia Myre. Lung creates participatory sewing performances, emphasizing skills sharing and hands-on craft instruction in an effort to provide an alternative to the global garment industry. Myre is a Canadian artist of Algonquin First Nations heritage whose multidisciplinary projects explore Native identity, the legacies of colonization and personal and collective loss. Working at the crossroads of contemporary art, performance, fibers and social practice, the artists engage viewers in hands-on, participatory crafting, offering new possibilities for the activation and display of craft and crafting. By bringing people together to sew and bead collectively, they challenge the traditional White Cube paradigm, on occasion abandoning it altogether. Whether located inside or outside the gallery, the projects under study bring diverse publics together in the act of crafting, fostering new types of social interaction — some more temporary and others, more elastic and durational.