In the recent past artists have used textiles as a powerful tool for expressing ideas about the social, political and artistic. Yet their status as an art medium is highly ambivalent. They have been situated on the margins, in a borderland between art and craft.

In the 1960s and early ‘70s textiles were brought into the art mainstream and seen as a confrontational medium, challenging the primacy of more traditional materials and capable of making the ordinary extraordinary. Feminist artists reasserted the value of traditional domestic crafts like embroidery and quilting and used them as a subtle means of subversion.

A growing body of contemporary art is characterized by a new engagement with the materials and techniques of the crafts, raising questions about the value of the handmade in the digital age. This timely book and exhibition will collapse perceived boundaries between art and craft and challenge readers to rethink the significance of medium in art.

Featuring the work of over 20 international artists, including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Grayson Perry, Faith Wilding, Susan Collis, and Tracey Emin.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Art_Textiles at The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 10 October 2015 – 31 January 2016.

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