So… This is the kind of thing I have mixed and complicated feelings about.
I’m not going to say “that isn’t art” because my position is that art is in the eye of the beholder.
But I *will* say that this is something that hundreds and thousands of knitters and crocheters the world over do ALL THE TIME. It’s called frogging. It’s just efficient. You find something that’s not going to be used or worn, but where the yarn is still reasonably undamaged and you frog it. You store the yarn for a future project.
Like I said, I’m not going to claim this isn’t art, but what I don’t understand is why it gets acknowledged as art when two white men do it in a gallery-space, and not when hundreds and thousands of (mainly) women do it every single day in their own home.
If Lernert and Sander are unaware that this is common practice amongst yarn-based crafters then their research is piss-poor and they should do better. If they did know, and just chose not to acknowledge their indebtedness then they’re just appropriative assholes.
Yes, frogging finished items is a beautiful thing and it’s art, but it was art already when everyone in the yarn-based craft community did it. These two men doing it doesn’t magically make it art when it wasn’t before.
I feel this is the sort of thing that they should have written an ‘academic’ (whatever that means) article about, acknowledging the actual community engaged in this practice and then discussing what makes it such a beautiful phenomenon, rather than just plagiarising a community’s common practice and getting praised for it because ‘omg, men working with a material stupidly designated by society as being for women, HOW AMAZING.’
I also have issues with this relating to necessity/thrift/class/wealth, but I cannot brain well enough to articulate those right now. But there’s definitely something insidious about taking a practice based on reusing and saving money and ‘making do’ and importing it into the corpulent, lucre-obsessed art world. And the act of importing it devalues the concept/practice in the same way private collectors devalue the work when they rip a Banksy piece of a wall and store it in their private galleries.