Blake Gopnik | NY Times Review of The History Of Hand Knitting
Link: NY Times, What to See
So much of our suffering is caused by male aggression. (How many victims of war have been killed by women?) but for all the horror of that violence, there’s often something oafish about it, if only because of the boundless stupidity it represents
This two-woman show captures some of masculinity’s toxic idiocy.
An untitled installation by Nicole Eisenan presents 20 “Clubs” leaning against the wall. Each is just a length of scrap wood with a dumb blob of plaster at its top, as though its maker was either too lazy or too dimwitted to perfect his weapons beyond the minimum needed to bash a head. Nearby, also in plaster, a three fingered blob of a hand sits on the floor, ready to grab at its clubs at the sightest provocation I”You callin’ME a blob of a hand?!)
A blob of a head, about three feet tall and painted blue, looks on dimly from a pedestal, as though helpless to govern its own hand.
Rosemarie trockel contributes quite different pieces to the show, but they nit similar notes. Back in 1984, she began to order up machine-knit balaclavas, like a terrorist or a paramilitary fighter might wear. But instead of being bad-guy black, they had “girlish”patterns knit into them. My favorite covers its wearer’s face in plus and minus signs, like the love charms worn by Frenchwomen that stand for “more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.” It’s not clear if Trockel’s pattern counters the balaclava’s associations with masculine threat, or if instead of pointing to a love that’s bound to increase, it lets its wearer proclaim a hatred that’s always on the rise. – BLAKE GOPNIK