Mr. Berger's Hook Rugs

Mr. Berger's Frankenthaler Hook Rug, yarn on fabric grid, 3x3ft, 2016

Mr. Berger’s Hook Rugs are the products of home done laborious craft, creating manufactured sentimentality within the work. Gently conflating fine art and craft, these hook rugs appropriate high modernest color field paintings by way of a traditional feminine craft. The work dissolves the distinctions of art/craft and masculine/feminine, disregarding art historical authority. Since hook rugs have been viewed as a feminine craft performed within the domestic space, the process and products have been doubly criticized as kitsch and devoid of art historical content.

Hook rugs are soft to touch and view. Their objecthood lacks authoritative edges, concreteness, and certainty, thus emboding a quiet experience. A hook rug hanging on a wall is a sentimental and playful adaptation of tapestries. Their soft and warm qualities are sentimentality manifest.

Difficult to confront works such as Rothko’s White in Center, Newman’s Abraham, and Frankenthaler’s Indian Summer now welcome interaction from the artistic layperson. As sentimentalized hook rugs, these works are no longer subject to the elitist and hegemonic notions of art world fame, Frankenthaler has always been on par with Rothko.