New York

Elaine Reichek

Nicole Klagsbrun

Writing in the 1880s, William Morris lamented that what he called the intellectual arts had been separated by “the sharpest lines of demarcation” from the decorative arts, and he exhorted craftsmen to create a “noble, popular art” guided by nature and history. Elaine Reichek has been working for over two decades in one such discipline: embroidery. But where her earlier output was a highly charged feminist appropriation of “women’s work,” she recently seems more closely guided by Morris’s exhortation.

One reason for this may be that Reichek has directed her gaze back to the nineteenth century. The central figure in her recent show was Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, a professor of painting and sculpture at the University of the City of New York (now New York University) and founder of the National Academy of Design. Reichek has created an epic embroidery of Morse’s famous Gallery

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