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Unto This Last

20 May to 25 July 2010
With work by Thomas Bayrle, Sarah Browne, Andrea Büttner, Alice Channer, Isabelle Cornaro, Dewar & Gicquel, Pernille Kapper Williams and Běla Kolářová

‘Unto This Last’ takes its cue from John Ruskin’s eponymous book to consider the complicated relationships between contemporary art and craft.

Written in 1860 as a manifesto against the prevailing economic theories of the mid-19th century, Unto This Last summons a series of moral arguments to denounce what its author perceived as the devastating social consequences of capitalism. Ruskin’s writings on economy and art inspired the Arts and Crafts movement, which advocated the primacy of handcraft and opposed the division of labour that lay at the heart of the capitalist model. A few decades later the very notion of craft would be widely seen as adverse to the imperatives of modernity and its definition of art, a misconception which has to some extent subsisted to this day.

The exhibition suggests that a number of contemporary artists simultaneously abide by the codes of conceptual practice – autonomy, dematerialisation, abstraction and lack of skills, among others – and to various degrees draw on the critical potential of craft. By introducing supposedly anti-conceptual notions such as artisanship, skill, or emotion, craft effectively provides them with an opportunity to take an unconventional and enlightening look at a variety of personal and collective concerns.

An essay by Glenn Adamson, author of Thinking Through Craft and Head of Graduate Studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum will accompany the exhibition, which has been curated by Alice Motard in collaboration with Alex Sainsbury.

Under the term ‘skill’ I mean to include the united force of experience, intellect, and passion, in their operation on manual labour: and under the term ‘passion’ to include the entire range and agency of the moral feelings; from the simple patience and gentleness of mind […] up to the qualities of character which renders science possible […] and to the incommunicable emotion and imagination which are the first and mightiest sources of all value in art.
John Ruskin, Unto This Last, 1860

Image: Pernille Kapper Williams, Matter upon Matter, 2008. Porcelain, 10.5 x 16 cm (Ø 12.5 cm) Photo: François Doury. Courtesy the artist.

 

Pras Sarkar (of Yahoo! Research) advises the following tips on

how to do this most effectively:
  • Stay up-to-date with your area of generalization
  • Know what to explore and what to ignore
  • Be critical of new technologies
  • Visualize the results of all new pursuits and endeavors
  • Don’t over-generalize

Moving away from Amateur Hour‘s recent focus on needlecrafts, this week’s entry was the winner in the category of ‘Something New from Something Old’ at the recent Manorhamilton Agricultural Show: a plant pot made from leftover decking.

*Amateur Hour, a showcase at Self Interest and Sympathy for new learning, knowledge, skill or entertainment* Submissions welcome to selfinterestandsympathy [at] gmail.com

 Model for a rainbow to be raised this weekend in Co. Leitrim, Ireland (wooden, 8 metres or so in its largest dimension).

Please send contributions for ‘amateur hour’ to selfinterestandsympathy[at]gmail[dot]com

From How to Do Things.com

Rnd 1: Ch 4, join w sl st in 1st ch to form ring, ch 3, 11 dc in ring, join w sl st in top of ch 3 (12 dc). Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc, * dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * around, join as before (16 dc). Rnds 3-4: Ch 3, dc in each dc around, join as before (16 dc). Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in next dc, dc dec over next 2 dc, * dc in next 2 dc, dc dec over next 2 dc, rep from * around, join as before, fasten off, leaving a 12″ length of yarn for sewing (12 dc).

Finishing:Stuff rock lightly with fiberfill. Weave 12″ length of yarn through tops of Rnd 5 dcs, pull to close hole, secure with a few sts. Glue on wiggle eyes. Let dry. Enjoy!

For children 3 and under, eliminate the wiggle eyes and embroider 2 French knots for eyes.

  

*Amateur Hour, a showcase at Self Interest and Sympathy for new learning, knowledge, skill or entertainment* Submissions welcome to selfinterestandsympathy [at] gmail.com

Vivre Sans Temps Mort [Live Without Dead Time] – the Situationist International, 1968

embroidery on cotton and nylon.

S.I. Archives

*Amateur Hour, a showcase at Self Interest and Sympathy for new learning, knowledge, skill or entertainment* Submissions welcome to selfinterestandsympathy [at] gmail.com

*Amateur Hour, a new showcase at Self Interest and Sympathy for new learning, knowledge, skill or entertainment* Submissions welcome

 

This week: Coffee Filter Lightshade, Berlin

 

*Amateur Hour, a new showcase at Self Interest and Sympathy for new learning, knowledge, skill or entertainment* Submissions welcome!

This week: Moneygami

I didn’t realise before I had the idea that others had had it first… unsurprising. There is an especially impressive range of dollar bill moneygami on the internet, some samples shown here. I’m not sure if this is because of the design (status, cultural cachet) of the dollar bill or the particular inventiveness of its crafters.. my own efforts in euro weren’t nearly as impressive.

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