A Short History of Carpet in Contemporary Art

Barbara Gallucci

Barbara Gallucci, Begin Again, 1999, Site Santa Fe


Rudolf Stingel, Plan B, 2004 (wall-to-wall pink and blue floral carpet for Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall)

Judi Werthein

Judi Werthein, Corporate Logo, 2007, installation view, Art in General, NY, photo AFC

This is not a "clone attack" because each idea is good and they all make rather different points. Gallucci's recursive carpet comes with a video of itself and a not-too-oblique pop culture reference: a low angle shot recalling the steadycam behind Danny's big wheel in The Shining. The Stingel is called a "painting" and warms up the normally cold lobby architecture, while at the same time Vegas-kitschifying it. The Werthein replaces one element in the gallery's "white cube" formula--the wood or concrete floor--and profanes the sacred art space with suspect commercialism. This could be the gallery space of the future, once silly notions like “autonomy” and “neutrality” are thoroughly disposed of. In each case the carpet is functional--meant to be walked on--and treads a line between object and performance background.

Updated with some thoughts from this discussion.