Something remarkable is underfoot. As some visual artists expand into new technologies, many others have recently gravitated to an older medium: rugs. “Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists,” on view at the Katonah Museum of Art through October 1, shows noteworthy rugs by 17 global artists who are well-known for work in other disciplines. The exhibition, curated by Cornelia Lauf and organized by MOCA Cleveland, is not a meditation on the craft of carpet-making, but instead examines contemporary practice through the display of the objects. It aims to show “how brilliant artists understand material and function and form,” Lauf says. Hung on walls and placed on the floors, the rugs range from sensual to minimal, but all show the strength of the medium to convey varied artistic messages.
The vibrancy of the psychedelic era, including rock band Deep Purple, inspired Polly Apfelbaum’s Deep Purple, Red Shoes. Nearby, Marilyn Minter’s Cracked Glass is meant to depict a broken mirror, with “shards” in soft, raised pile. Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth’s rug, L.W. (Remarks on the Foundation of Mathematics), includes a mathematical equation and is meant as a tribute to philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Midtown – Condé Nast, by Sarah Morris, abstracts a painting of a New York skyscraper into a vibrant gridded rug evoking the city’s streets. Christopher Wool’s contribution, New Linen 8, is not one of his famous textual works, but an inky rug that recalls a Rorschach test. Alan Belcher, meanwhile, has included a rug constituted from woven dog chews.
“Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists” is on view at the Katonah Museum of Art until October 1, 2017.