The Golden Thread – BravinLee Offsite at The Seaport

Photo Story
A colorful piece of art on a brick wall

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Christopher Myers Ghezo’s Throne, 2021 Appliqué textile, 72 x 48 inches

BravinLee Projects has just launched an audacious, big, and bold exhibition of 60 contemporary artists working in textile or textile-related mediums. It’s a massive show in an unlikely pop-up space. A five-story historic brick warehouse building in the Seaport that is anything but the cool, clean white box gallery that we are used to. The walk-up gallery space has vintage wide planked flooring, old fireplaces, and deeply aged brick walls. Though it must have been a challenge to curate in the space and even more of a challenge to install, the result is a fascinating presentation of artists working in a wide range of materials and styles.

There are quite a few installation pieces where the artists have responded directly to the site, and their work looks remarkably at home in the 18th-century rooms. The installations suffuse the rooms with feral energy, which is a nice counterpoint to the many other works in the show that are wall-hanging and thus a little more “civilized.”

A room with a fireplace and pink curtains

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Sara Jimenez, At what point does the world unfold? (column 1), 2022, Textiles, beads, paint, sequins, ceramics, 6 x 37 feet

Understandably there are quite a few pieces that riff on embroidery in innovative ways. I don’t know when the phrase “subversive stitching was coined,” but it very neatly describes the embroidered works in this exhibition. The stitchers are stichin’ like mad in this show, producing excellent and deliciously subversive works. Orly Cogan, an artist who has long used the medium to creative psychodramas, love, and sexuality, excels here with her large-scale tapestry.

A large piece of art

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Orly Cogan, Life Force, 2019, Hand stitched embroidery, appliqué, crochet, lace and paint on vintage bed linen, 80 x 90 inches
A detail from Woolpunk’s large banner that combines stitching and collage on a digitally printed substrate. Mass Stitchings No. 4: Chamber Street Station, The People vs. Bernard Goetz, 2024 Digital image with stitched fiber remnants and recycled textiles on vinyl banner, 36 x 54 inches
A group of colorful blankets on a brick wall

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Two sculptural jackets by Michael Sylvan Robinson, Composting Our Fears + Committing to Action, 2020, Sculptural garment with textile collage, stenciled text with machine and hand-stitching, sequins and beading, buttons and semi-precious stones on fabric, 30 x 95 x 2 inches

The delight in using analog processes is evident in every single one of the works in this show. Though there are toe dips into digital production processes, the major part of every piece has been fabricated by hand.

A piece of art on a wall

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Allison Reimus, Nobody Wants To Work, 2023, Oil, flashe, ink, bleach, woven hot pads, paint brushes, threads from canvas on dyed printed sewn linen, canvas, and burlap
A circular object with a picture of sand dunes

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Naomi Ben-Shahar We Are the Event Horizon of Existence Itself, 2024 61 x 61 x 2 inches (155 x 155 x 5 cm) Hand weave (kid silk, cotton, coconut fiber, wool, pineapple fiber, alpaca, silk, metallic yarn, kid mohair) on custom loom, gold-toned gelatin silver print mounted on aluminum.

This show is big in size and big in spirit. The combination of the charged atmosphere of the building and the overall passion with which each artist works makes for a potent exhibition. The exploration of all things textile presents a vibrant portrait of the current field. Artists are working with any and everything within the wide definition of these materials, and the curation presents us with an equally wide range of works. Not everything will resonate with every viewer, but I would bet money that was not a curatorial concern. Rather, I think that one of the underlying themes of the curatorial choices is “joy.” Whether the work is sexy, political, abstract, or conceptual, the unifying sense of the joy of making is palpable. The show has a limited-time run. So get down there.

A piece of art on a wall

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Melissa Dadourian, Purple Slice, 2024, Hand-machine knitted thread, acrylic paint, paper clay, T-pins, 52 x 42 x 2 inches

About the venue- “207 Front Street is one of the oldest buildings in the South Street Seaport, built in 1797.  It is an outstanding example of mercantile architecture, with a twelve-foot diameter hoist wheel, peaked roof, Flemish Bond brick facade, and heavy timber floor framing.  This 10,000. Sf. building was owned by some of the most prominent mercantile families in New York City history.  Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, 207 Front Street has never been open to the public before.  Special Thanks to Seaport Associates LP & Belle Harbour Capital LLC.”

The Golden Thread: A Fiber Art Show. April 26-May 12, 2024. 207 Front St The Seaport NYC. Hours: Tues.- Sun, 12-7. Free and open to the public. Not wheelchair/stroller accessible

About the Writer: Melissa Stern lives in NYC and The Hudson Valley. Her mixed material sculpture and drawings are in corporate and museum collections throughout the US. Her multi-media project The Talking Cure has been touring the United States since 2012, showing at The Akron Museum of Art, Redux Contemporary Art Center (Charleston), The Weisman Museum, Real Art Ways (Hartford) and The Kranzberg Art Center (St. Louis), and at The Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton.MA. She has written about art and culture for The New York Press and CityArts for eight years and is a contributing writer to Hyperallergic and artcritical. Melissa has joined Art Spiel as a contributing writer.