Diane Itter: An Interview

1982 | 00:46:42 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews

Tags: Feminism, Interview, Mixed media, VDB Interviews

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The 1970s witnessed unprecedented artistic development of non-traditional media – chief among them were textiles and fabrics. Diane Itter was at the forefront of this boom in craft-oriented art making, designing colorful, geometric and exceedingly intricate fiber works that demanded near countless hours of time to execute. In this interview she discusses her practice, as well as the pitfalls that are encountered while working in what was – at the time of the interview – a still largely marginalized art form. One can hear in Itter’s responses to questions a certain striving, a certain desire to delineate herself and her efforts from the typical stereotype of the craft-artist – one saturated by of tropes of passive feminity and kitsch-level originality.

 Itter casts herself in an all-together different light, talking about her own projects in a seemingly modernist tone, insisting on the importance of materiality and technique. At the intersection of these two is what she calls “image-building,” wherein the kind of thread and the knot chosen to weave it together form a matrix out of which a given image can arise, all factors being mutually dependent upon one another without any taking a primary position. What results are powerfully colorful and densely layered fiber works with grid like patterns. Even this, however, presents an obstacle for the artist working in non-traditional media since the more well-made the textile art is – the less “artful” it seems to be. It is almost as if Itter positions herself against the particularly postmodern deployments of fabric like soft-sculpture – Robert Morris’s indeterminate bundles of felt on the floor, for example – only to secure herself a personal space for technical proficiency and intricate experimentation.

 — Nicolas Holt, 2016


Interview conducted March 10, 1982.

Interview by Ann Wilson

Camera by Joan Boccino

Edited in 2014 by Charles Rice