What People Are Saying About Penny

"I like to think of you as a high priced call girl that the unwashed masses can't afford--like Woody Allen's Whore of Mensa. It's not your fault that people offer $10 blowjobs on the street corner. It's not an insult if somebody doesn't buy your art." -Alexandra J Walters

"Once Penny was making her own silk thread, and a midget appeared. Before he could open his ugly mouth, without looking up, she exclaimed, 'Rumpelstiltskin. Now get the fuck out of here.' Fairytale Over."- Beth Featherstone

"Penny can push a needle through a telephone pole without a thimble." -Shane Blaufuss

"When a man asked Penny, 'What’s the meaning of life?' She looked at him for exactly 3 minutes, completely still, until he cried. That man’s name was Steve Jobs."- Beth Featherstone

"A demon from the pits of bitch cunt." -W.C. Hurst

"pulitzer for you too." -John Lurie

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Yawn.

I'm really fucking tired of a vocal minority insisting that the only reason artists embroider erotica or guns or anything that's *slightly* controversial and not a precious kitten is because they making A FEMINIST STATEMENT. OR SUBVERTING A FEMININE TRADITION. Really? Because I'm going to have to insist that by making such a sweeping generalization, those people are lazy and ignorant. Not everything I do is dictated by the political history of having a vagina. Really. And shockingly, that's also true for many artists. But because those people are going to think that anyway, I figured, fine. Here is my “giant feminist statement” piece. Enjoy, dipshits.
Clearly, You Haven't Earned Them Yet
Clearly, You Haven't Earned Them Yet
Mixed Media Shisha 11" across
Hand embroidered on hand dyed silk with pheasant wing

11 comments:

  1. You are now one of my favorite art critics. Clement Greenberg, Robert Hughes, move over Penny is here.

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  2. Great piece Penny, and tangible anger in the write up, but I don’t get it. What are the personal, philosophical, and artistic goals behind artists’ choice of subject and media when they embroider erotica (or guns)? I also don’t understand why you use "a feminist statement" as if it was something bad for artists to be making. Surely the "political history of having a vagina" you describe is exactly what brings so many artists to embroidery. It feels (to me at least) as if a reappraisal of historically women’s craft, and a reappraisal of the legacy of feminism, is exactly what is making needlework part of our current artistic buzz.

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  3. I'm having trouble deciding if I'm going to respond to this comment honestly, or politely.
    I think your statement has more to do with your subjective struggles as a viewer than anything that comes close to exploring an artists' intent. I think it's unfortunate that you don't seem to be able to view these pieces outside of a female context. Also, I find it a bit offensive. Many artists choose a particular medium because it allows certain freedoms or restrictions while creating, not because of a political, cultural, or gender agenda. When you fail to acknowledge that, you are either looking at failed art that does not transcend it's medium, or you are a failed viewer.
    Yes, some people are only now taking interest in this work because of it's perceived feminine overtones. However if that's the only reason you can grasp for using embroidery or taking interest in embroidery, it debases many artists and their work. As if, that's the only reason they are getting attention, rather than their talent. And isn't that really the point of feminism? To be allowed to succeed or fail based on one's merits, rather than one's gender?
    Furthermore this "buzz" isn't exactly "current". A bit of cursory research would probably be beneficial. Start with a subscription to Fiber Arts Magazine. Or Wild Fibers Magazine if you want explore non-female and non-white traditions in textiles, and then maybe thumb through Needlework As Art (1866).

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  4. It’s weird; I agree completely and disagree completely!
    First the agreement. I agree that part of the viewer’s interest in an artist’s choice a particular medium is because of the freedoms or restrictions it allows. I’m reminded of Joseph Albers refusal to allow ceramics at the Black Mountain College because he felt that the medium offered too little resistance (!) I also agree that artists should get attention because of their talent. I don’t think a cultural analysis (if that’s not too grand a phrase) belittles that respect.
    Now the disagreement. I still do not understand the reluctance to see the current buzz (as opposed to the 19th century buzz) as part of a reappraisal of the feminine. I do not understand how embroidered renderings of erotica (or of guns) are interesting unless the political juxtapositions of male and female are considered.
    Anyway, thanks for taking the polite route :-) I really do not intend offence, just to better understand this theme in recent art.

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  5. Dumbledad, the problem using "feminist statement" is that it is dictating the motive/intent behind an artists work and blinds the viewer to the long history of embroidery and men's roles in it and what the artist is conveying.

    Femininity has NOTHING to do with my choices in media and subject matter. I am a multi media artist, but just because I currently use embroidery as a mode of expression doesn't change the nature of my intent as an artist.

    thanks so much for reitierating how I feel Penny.

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  6. I'm right there with you Jafa.

    Dumbledad- I'm sorry that you don't find certain subject interesting unless they are viewed in that context. But really, that's purely your deal. I'm not going to speak to the 19 century buzz, because it's been going on since then. Go exploring. Find out for your self. Fiber Arts has been in print for thirty years.

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  7. "as part of a reappraisal of the feminine"

    Because women don't NEED to do that. Nowadays men and women use stitchwork to make an artistic statement. You are harking back to the notion that expression through textile arts is unqiquely feminine, and it isn't, that is a rather antiquated notion.

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  8. "I do not understand how embroidered renderings of erotica (or of guns) are interesting unless the political juxtapositions of male and female are considered."

    They are interesting for the same reasons people like guns and erotica is in other media. Andy Warhol painted guns for a reasons that had nothing to do with your argument. Some people just like those images no matter what media is used.

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  9. this discussion is so freaking interesting.

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  10. my biggest issue with the word feminist is that is conjures the thought of "women uber alles," so to speak. i think the point, of this argument, my work, and feminism for lack of another term, is about equality.
    well spoken penny and jafa.

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