Students at Salem Visual and Performing Arts Academy in Virginia got a new teacher early this morning. Polish-born street artist Olek (featured in HF Vol. 29) known for her candy-colored crocheted installations, shared her talents with 30 lucky students in a special workshop hosted by Virginia MOCA. “It’s nice to be back in high school!”, Olek shared in an instagram post. “It was so worth to wake up at 7:15am to meet these amazing young individuals.” The workshop was held in anticipation of the artist’s free public workshop series as part of the “Turn the Page: Ten Years of Hi-Fructose” exhibition coming to the museum next spring.
Tonight, New York will welcome a new gallery into the art world with a name that should be familiar to most: Rumney Guggenheim is the great-grandson of the art collector Peggy Guggenheim, and the son of art dealer Sandro Rumney and Ralph Rumney, co-founder of the avante-garde organization, The Situationist International. The gallery’s first show, “Some Place Like Home” follows in the footsteps of his family members in its choice of young artists known for their use of experimental materials: Olivia Steele, Boxhead, Swoon, Moral Turgeman, Olek, in collaboration with Integrated Vision’s Michelle P. Dodson. Notably, all of them are women. Give the concept of “Home”, their works express interpretations of domestic bliss and one’s private space.
“Podrán cortar todas las flores pero nunca detendrán la primavera.” (They can cut all the flowers, but never stop the spring.) – Pablo Neruda Olek sends this message of support to the gay community all over the world, especially in South America, with her latest piece. The Polish-born street artist (featured in HF Vol. 29) has just covered Santiago’s Obelisk Balmaceda monument with rainbow-colored crochet work. See more after the jump!
While some artists view yarn bombing as purely decorative, Olek (HF Vol. 29) often swathes objects in crochet to draw attention to important socio-political issues. Known for the outspoken messages in her large-scale, colorful work, she was recently invited to create a piece in New Delhi, India for the St+art Delhi street art festival. For her canvas, Olek chose one of the local homeless shelters called “Raine Basera,” which provide people with temporary lodging overnight. With the help of legions of volunteers and donations from Indian fashion labels, Olek beautified the shelter with bright yellow, purple, and red crocheted fabrics that evoke India’s famously vibrant textiles. Though it’s visually alluring, the piece ultimately imparts a sobering message about the reality of poverty in New Delhi — and many major cities around the world.
French artist Frederique Morrel (Vol 28) breathes new life into old taxidermy. She calls it the animals’ revenge, under appreciated as a stuffed head on a wall and reborn as something to be admired. Simultaneously, the dying art of embroidery is made new and contemporary. To Morrel, her sculptures symbolize a reimagining of oppulence, bringing to mind artists Olek and Karley Feaver. Morrel’s concept may sound simple: repurposing vintage tapestry that she collects from second-hand shops and covering animals with it, but it’s not.
Always searching for new applications for her crochet practice (see our coverage of her crocheted train and crocheted boat as well as our extensive feature in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29), Olek recently traveled to the Caribbean for an underwater installation in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.