The Object of Labor explores the personal, political, social, and economic meaning of work in the context of art and textile production. The ubiquity of cloth in everyday life, the historically resonant relationship of textile and cloth to labor, and the tumultuous drive of globalization make the issues raised by this publication of special interest today. The seventeen essays cover topics ranging from art-making practices to labor history and the effects of globalization as seen through art and labor. The artists' projects—twelve striking and beautiful eight-page, full color spreads—conduct parallel investigations into art, cloth, and work.
The contributors explore, from historical and personal perspectives, such subjects as the charged history of offshore garment workers; the different systems of production and consumption in factories, homes, studios, and exhibitions; the revelation of class, gender, and sexuality through cloth, costume, and textile images; textile production as commemorative acts in South Africa, the United States, and India; transnationalism, cultural hybridity, and race in the work of individual artists; lost histories of garment production and embroidery; the physical act of art-making as labor; and the value of handmade and "technologically improved" objects.
Ingrid Bachmann, Carol Becker, Andries Botha, Lou Cabeen, Helen Cho, Alison Ferris, Nancy Gildart, bell hooks, Alan Howard, Mary Jane Jacob, Janis Jeffries, Neil MacInnis, Margo Mensing, Kevin Murray, Sadie Plant, Maureen Sherlock, and collectively by Viji Srinivasan, Skye Morrison, Laila Tyabji, and Dorothy Caldwell.
Artist projects and portfolios by:
Susie Brandt, Nick Cave, Park Chambers, Lisa Clark, Lia Cook, Ann Hamilton, Kimsooja, Barbara Layne and Sue Rowley, Lara Lepionka, Merrill Mason, Darrel Morris, Pepón Osorio, J. Morgan Puett and Iain Kerr, Karen Reimer, Yinka Shonibare, SubRosa, Christine Tarkowski, and Anne Wilson.
About the Editors
Joan Livingstone is an artist, Chair of the Undergraduate Division, and Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is in the permanent collections of museums including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
John Ploof is an artist and Chair of the Department of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He works with his urban neighbors in Chicago on participatory public projects. As a member of the internationally acclaimed artists’ collective Haha, his work has been shown at the Aperto, XLV Venice Biennale; Grimaldi Forum, Monaco; MASS MoCA; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.