The Nashville Scene is proud to present Shag, an exhibition of textile-based art curated by arts editor Laura Hutson Hunter. Shag is the second installment in the Scene’s Adult Contemporary series, which aims to bring provocative ideas into public discourse through visual art.
Shag brings together artists whose work examines eroticism and sexuality through textile-based media. Textiles have long been marginalized in the world of fine art, dodging the academic lens that’s dominated so much of it since the rise of modernism. For that reason, textile art often flies under the radar of the fine-art industry, allowing it to evolve more organically, with limited visibility and criticism. The result is a kind of subculture within the contemporary art world. In that subculture, broadly speaking, textile’s ephemeral nature and association with craft traditions gives it an easily irreverent quality — a sweater that’s knit from pornographic images, for example, can seem much more deviant than an actual photograph, just based on its associations.
For the same reason, textiles are an unusually effective medium for subverting sexual norms. The Shag artists use familiar, underappreciated materials — yarn, thread, canvas drop cloths — to create images that express sexuality and desire on their own terms. The artists call the shots — if an orgy in a Catholic rectory turns them on, there’s an artwork that needs to exist.
The art in Shag ranges from strongly provocative to subtly suggestive, and includes a variety of mediums — from knit objects and woven tapestries to photographs, mixed-media sculpture and embroidery.
Adama Delphine Fawundu
Shannon Cartier Lucy
Erin M. Riley