New York

Elaine Reichak

MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art / Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery

When is the ideological subtext of the modernist white cube most clearly revealed? According to When This You See. . . ,1996–99, Elaine Reichek’s installation in the Museum of Modern Art project room, when it is carpeted and painted green, trimmed with molding and picture rails, and filled with the samplers the artist has been sewing since 1996.

In such humorous juxtapositions as a needleworked version of Jasper Johns’s 1958 White Numbers and a replica of a nineteenth-century sampler used to teach multiplication tables, Reichek jokingly alludes to the formal affinities between modernist painting and domestic craft, stemming from their mutual dependence on allover composition and geometric grid. Taken as a whole, the thirty-one needleworks on display—featuring everything from conventional decorative motifs to embroidered appropriations of modern and contemporary art to literary quotations

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