Philadelphia

Michael Olszewski

Nexus-Foundation for Today's Art

The feminist art dialogue of the ’70s freed a lot of media long damned as “craftsy.” By nurturing the use of traditional craft techniques and materials in the creation of (anti/non-functional) art, it also started breaking down the dialectically exclusive definitions of art and craft. Looking at Michael Olszewski’s “fabric constructions” (his term), I am reminded of an exchange between Lucy Lippard and Joan Snyder (taped in ’73, printed in Ms. in ’75). Responding to Lippard’s question as to how Snyder can “tell women’s art from men’s art,” Snyder answers: “It has to do with a kind of softness, layering, a certain color sensibility, a more expressive work than any man is going to do right now, and a repetitiousness—use of grids, obsessive in a way.” That was seven years ago, years which have seen men moving toward the kind of “expressive work” which Snyder then rightly associated with women.

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