Tapestry as Social Commentary
But tapestries are no longer just charming throwbacks for viewing in museums. The other track of the current resurgence is among contemporary artists. In an age when nearly everyone is considered a multimedia practitioner, the woven textile is proving irresistible. “The whole tapestry format has been revived to an extraordinary extent,” says David McFadden, a curator at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City.
He points to Turner Prize–winning British artist Grayson Perry’s traditional textiles that comment on modern society. Perry’s Walthamstow Tapestry of 2009 (shown above) has the teeming pattern of a Baroque beauty, but on closer inspection, the names of powerful brands like Microsoft are woven in, too. “He’s part of a generation that has rediscovered the pictorial format of tapestry and found it extremely seductive,” says McFadden.