Project Highlight: Anne Wilson’s “To Cross (Walking New York)”

Photo courtesy of the Drawing Center.

by Rachel Heidenry

Four performers sit in the center of the gallery weaving. At moments they stand and walk across the space, threading string around four twelve-foot columns. They work, they walk, they create – repeating this action for hours.

“To Cross (Walking New York)” is artist Anne Wilson’s latest site-specific project. The result from this performance is a large woven textile in the gallery’s central space – layers of thread forming a stunning sculpture of colored horizontal lines. Seen in relation to the performer’s dedication, the work-in-process impresses an awareness of fragility and transparency, but also one of enduring vigor. It is exceptional.

Photo courtesy of the Drawing Center

Taking her inspiration from The Drawing Center’s building, Wilson conceived of the project in direct relation to the site’s history. The building was originally constructed in 1866 for the Positive Motion Loom Company. The artist thus celebrates the history of the space and the labor that once took place within it. The durational performance accentuates the repetition of labor, the concentration required for the work and the production created. After two months in the space, the performers will ultimately produce a five by thirty-four foot sculpture of thread.

Photo courtesy of the Drawing Center.

As an artist, Anne Wilson is concerned with history, spaces and time. A professor at the Art Institute of Chicago, her practice shifts between various mediums, including sculpture, drawing, performance and video animation. Throughout, she incorporates the use of everyday materials, which are often light and fragile items such as lace, human hair and bed sheets. Wilson has the innate material sensibility of a sculptor but combines this understanding of handwork with strong conceptual ideation. Together, these processes create works of art that explore themes of ritual, ecologies and form.

“To Cross (Walking New York)” is part of the Thread Lines exhibition at the Drawing Center (on view through December 14, 2014), which features sixteen artists who engage with sewing, knitting and weaving. Both the exhibition and Wilson’s performance are a must-see. 

Photo courtesy of the Drawing Center

Remaining “To Cross (Walking New York)” Performance Times:

Thurs, Oct 16, 2:30-7:30pm with Anne Wilson

Sat, Oct 18, 12:30-5:30pm with Anne Wilson

Sun, Oct 19, 12:30-5:30pm with Anne Wilson

Thurs, Oct 23, 2:30-7:30pm

Sun, Oct 26, 12:30-5:30pm

Sat, Nov 1, 12:30-5:30pm

Sun, Nov 2, 12:30-5:30pm

Photo courtesy of the Drawing Center

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