These Artists Are Changing our Expectations of What Tapestry Can Be

Julia Wolkoff -- Artsy June 13, 2019

“Contemporary artists who have dared to take up the painstaking labor of weaving in the digital age similarly find themselves in dialogue with newly minted historical figures like Albers—who was instrumental in elevating the status of weaving as a fine art—as well as ancient traditions that span the globe.”

‘Textile work is exciting audiences again because the field of makers has expanded,’ the artist told me. ‘It is an expansive space where women, queer people, and Black and brown folks have made huge contributions historically and presently.’



June 4 -- September 8, 2019 New Museum


“For the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in New York, Brackens presents a new installation of weavings in the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery.”

“Brackens creates cosmographic abstractions and figurative narratives that lyrically merge lived experience, commemoration, and allegory.”

Photographed by Aubrey Mayer

Photographed by Aubrey Mayer


“While many artists and critics have rejected allegory and narrative, Diedrick Brackens uses those exact strategies in order to meld questions of identity and history. His materials are the starting point for this relationship: ‘Cotton is the primary material because it is a very easy material to manipulate, it takes color beautifully and its historical significance in the U.S. relative to enslavement, violence and subjugation has had lasting effects on black bodies,’ he says. ‘I think of the process of handweaving cotton as a small way to pay tribute to those who came before me and worked with the material under very different circumstances.’ Each of Brackens’ works is thereby a literal piecing together of histories that remain present today, collapsing time upon itself within layers of fabric.”

Material Futurity

November 8 – December 16, 2018
Macalester College – Law Warschaw Gallery own everything_2.jpg

“Material Futurity brings together contemporary artists from across the United States working in video, performance, sculpture, fiber, painting, digital projects, and mixed media. These artists’ practices prioritize re-working, mutability, potential, and fluidity—locating futurity, in conversation with the past and present, as a speculative and generative site.”

Featuring work by Jeffrey Gibson, Sahar Khoury, Grace Rosario Perkins, Anna Luisa Petrisko, Chris Bogia, and Jade Yumang.

Ear to the Ground: Earth and Element in Contemporary Art

October 19 – August 31, 2019
New Orleans Museum of Art

00_wading still_bend bow pull_b.jpg

“Mining earth both as a material and a metaphor, the artists in this exhibition treat nature as a teacher: a model for negotiating the complexities of contemporary cultural life. Informed by a kind of elemental logic, their art envisions new ways we might relate to the natural world, as well as to one another.

“Others, like Pat Steir, Dan Alley and Diedrick Brackens, turn to nature as a collaborator or conspirator in the creation of their art, casting sculptures directly upon the ground, or dyeing textiles with water drawn from rivers and oceans.”

“best known for his tapestries and textile sculptures that range from pieces with abstracted images to narrative scenes that depict black figures in silhouettes, all accompanied with lyrical titles,such as not every passage/position is comfortable and wading still (bend, bow, pull)

Studio Museum in Harlem’s $50,000 Wein Prize Goes to Diedrick Brackens

Maximilíano Durón - Artnews
October 18, 2018

The Brandford/Elliot Award was established in 1995 to celebrate the lives and work of the late textile  fiber artists/scholars Joanne Segal Brandford and Lillian Elliott. Sonya Clark, Elana Herzog, and Olivia Valentine are among the artists to receive this award.Brackens is the 14th receipt of the honor.

“The award, formerly known as the Lillian Elliott Award, became a well known honor in a very short time, perhaps because there are no other awards specifically designated for emerging artists working with fiber, and because the need is so great.”

“Diedrick Brackens’s tapestries depicted allegorical scenes of silhouetted black male figures and animals (one based on a real-life event in which three black men were arrested and handcuffed for a misdemeanor and drowned after being transported on a boat that capsized) to address the social constructions of masculinity and African American identity in relation to a history marked by wrongful deaths, negligence, and injustice.”

3 Knockout Art Shows to See in Los Angeles Right Now

Holland Cotter - New York Times
August 16, 2018

“A narrative textile hanging by Diedrick Brackens[..] looks like a tropical fantasy but refers to a real-life story of three black men who died in police custody.”

Made In L.A. 2018

June 3 – September 2, 2018
Hammer Museum

“As always, the biennial emphasizes emerging and established but often lesser-known artists. These 33 range in age from 29 to 97 — the youngest (textile artist Diedrick Brackens)”

“One-third of the artists in the splendid “Made in L.A. 2018” are men, two-thirds are women. Not so long ago, a ratio of women far outnumbering men in a survey exhibition would have been a topic of stunned and enthusiastic comment.”

a slow reckoning
September 9 – December 10, 2017
Ulrich Museum of Art