Monday, August 8, 2011

So Much Stitch-Speration at the MOMA, my head exploded

Haven't been to the Museum of Modern Art in 5 or 6 years and I took myself there on NYC trip this past weekend. Of course, one wanders around, unsure what to focus upon, being pushed this way and that way by the throngs of other museum goers, some clearly suffering, wildly uncomfortable and not sure why the hell they are there.

Me, excited in my taxi, en route to the MOMA
Me, I'm there to just absorb, to allow my eyes to be tantalized and my heart to be stirred. I did my own aimless wandering for a few minutes, after leaping from my taxi. But I thought to myself, O, why are you here? And I answered myself, in that weirdly clear-headed way that I can conjure when I'm not too self-conscious. I said, to look at images and think about stitching. What I call Stitch-Speration, just like a did a couple of weeks ago with a friend at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Natalia Goncharova. Imagine piling stitches up on top of each other in this way.
So that is all that I did. I roamed and let my eyes fall on anything--any color combo or pattern or speck of a design that resonated with the feeling of putting a needle into fabric, or building layers of color and pattern on cloth.

Umberto Boccioni.
At first I was attracted to color and shapes.

Gino Severini. Imagine attaching dull sequins to your piece, over stitching.

Piet Mondrian. Black outline around your stitches.

Diego Rivera. Playing with stitched portraiture inspired by this.

Vasily Kandinski.

Then I started finding text, which I adore stitching.

Joseph Kosuth. Imagine providing false definitions.

Marcel Broodthayers

Finally I found the Talk to Me exhibit, which featured MANY works that had text and symbols within them, but were really about the interaction between people and their technology. As someone who texts constantly (to the point that I probably drive people crazy), is on Twitter and Facebook, has met a few amazing people through online dating, has reconnected with old friends through email, blogs, lives with her iPhone in her bra and gets her news almost exclusively through the NY Times online, interacting with technology is an interesting subject.

What 100 Million Calls to 311 Reveal about NYC/

Imagine false info being mapped.
This is a a pitifully abbreviated sample, but I was particularly struck by two pieces: A NYC 311 graph of when and why people call the City of New York for various public services (at 3 am they want HIV testing but at 2 pm they want to complain about odd odors) and a lovely document about symbols homeless people leave to instruct other homeless about the conditions in their surroundings. I ADORE the symbols and the documentation about what is most important to share. And it reminds me of 1930s Hobo chalk markings that served a similar purpose.

Homeless City Guide

I adore the symbols.

Oh, and the the catalog of "Ss" in Parisian graffiti really appealed to both the artist/text obsessed part of me and the nerdy kid who loves lists of things part of me.

Graffiti Taxonomy, Paris

And then there is the wonderful, fragile beauty of drawings on napkins. And I imagine stitching into paper napkins and leaving them to be found.

Jim Hodges. A Diary of Flowers. 
Another project for another day, no doubt.

The garden is peaceful even if we are not.

Rested in the sculpture garden at the moment and allowed all of the ideas to wash over me. So many sources of inspiration out there. So many wonderful people in my life.

I'm goofily grateful.


  1. Awesome post Olisa! I find a lot of the stuff you have shown here very inspiring as well. :)

  2. Love the graffiti and invisible city and the S's and and and have the most amazing eye! Truly inspirational!

  3. This is a really exciting idea - now I want to follow you around an art gallery to see what you're seeing... (-Rebecca)