Through the Work of More than 60 Artists, ‘The Golden Thread’ Traces the Rise of Textiles in Contemporary Art

Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, “Rest is a Place for Wild Things” (2024), cotton, silk, polyester, reclaimed textile, thread, site-specific installation, dimensions variable. Photo by Jih-E Peng. All images © the artists, courtesy of BravinLee, shared with permission

In the historic South Street Seaport area of Manhattan, a former 18th-century mercantile warehouse sets the scene for a monumental exhibition of contemporary textile art. The Golden Thread: A Fiber Art Show, presented by BravinLee, gathers more than 100 artworks by 61 artists into the cavernous space, including ten site-specific installations that riff on the building’s history, character, and original machinery.

Metaphorically, the golden thread is a feature or concept that is present in all parts of something, holding everything together and imbuing it with value. This notion provides the framework for an ambitious presentation of dozens of pieces by artists who utilize or incorporate fiber into their work, formed around questions like, “How are textiles enmeshed with power?” or, “How can the medium’s previously outcast status at once be challenged and reclaimed?”

Tracing its roots back tens of thousands of years, fiber has played an intrinsic role in human society, used in everything from garments to homewares to industrial equipment. Historically defined as a craft, trade, or hobby, fiber encompasses a vast range of practices, from knitting and embroidery to weaving, quilting, and carpet design. During the past century, textiles and their processes have increasingly found their way into fine art, tying contemporary practices to timeless traditions.

If you’re a regular reader of Colossal, you’ll recognize works by Melissa Webb, April Bey, Jean Shin, Wangechi Mutu, Sarah Zapata, and more. The Golden Thread continues through May 19, with variable hours. If you’re in New York, visit BravinLee’s website for more information and opening times.


April Bey, “If You Hate Your Enemies, Your Enemies Shine” (2023), jacquard woven textiles, with hand-sewn fabric and sequins, 76 x 54 inches

Rachel B. Bayes, “Pixel Dreamin’” (2024), monofilament thread, polycarbonate Roscolux filters, shimmer poly-organza, and marine vinyl binding, 92 x 108 x 36 inches

Jean Shin, “S.O.S.3,” “S.O.S. 6,” and “S.O.S 7” (2020-2022), salvaged hemlock branches from Olana State Historic Site, leather remnants, and upholstery tacks, 12 x 13 x 83; 11½ x 13 x 85; and 11 x 12½ x 82½ inches

Melissa Webb, “Manifestoon” (2024), hand-dyed and manipulated vintage cotton textiles, site-responsive installation, dimensions variable

Jeila Gueramian, “It Reminds Me of You” (2024), mixed media, site-specific, dimensions variable

Erin LeAnn Mitchell, “Equally Yoked” (2024), acrylic, fabric, buttons, yarns and loop hair rollers, 60 x 40 inches

Sarah Zapata, “A Famine of Hearing (Green Ruins 1-4)” (2019), natural and synthetic fiber, wood, dimensions variable

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Through the Work of More than 60 Artists, ‘The Golden Thread’ Traces the Rise of Textiles in Contemporary Art appeared first on Colossal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.