- Disclaimer: This probably is the opinion of many yarnbombers and street artists who, like me, have come across the NYT article on Olek’s work, but it is not in my intention to promote this as an opinion that is shared within everyone in the yarn bombing community.
Agatha Oleksiak has been working with crochet for a long while, and I do not intend to take down the quality of her art. She is a great artist and her technical level is inspiring. But I have a very big ethical disagreement. You can post your opinion in the comment section below after reading this:
“I don’t yarn bomb, I make art. If someone calls my [Wall Street] Bull a yarn bomb, I get really upset” said she, in the New York Times interview.
So yarnbombing is not Art avec un grand A? Olek very clearly says here that she believes there is a fundamental status difference between a knitting granny and a crocheting artist. She might not be wrong by noting the different levels of technical abilities between the different yarnbombers, but why would she need to put it forward like so, thus disminishing the work of everyone who did not go to art school? And we know that she is pleased to be compared to renowned street artists. So being compared to lower-level streetartists like regular knitters is unacceptable, but popular “Artists” is great? How ellitist, again!
I also personnaly thought yarnbombing was a great way to revalorise crafts (mostly done by women), often percieved as lower leveled compared to painting or sculpting (done by men), because of its paternity with street art (wich will be, I swear, considered a major art history chapter in the 21st century book), but then, Olek also says “knitting is for pussies”, because she crochets. I hope she is joking.
Olek should know that elitism is not welcomed in an artistic movement that came from the people not the institutions. Grassroot, yarnbombing was born from initiatives of regular people and artists who were not looking to make profit or social glory out of their pole cozies, unlike opportunistic Olek who covered the Astor place cube during the OWS movement with such a small word of support we wonder how political the piece really was.
Also, when interviewed recently during her stay in our very own Montreal, miss also said that the social climate was “bad” because she could not be free to install her artwork in the streets at night because of police presence. She also said she really did not want her installations to be associated with the demonstrations. Well, excuse us, Olek, for fighting for social change, and for occupying the streets you would like to see cleared. You should also know that a lot of street art in Montreal has recently been political. Pretty much all the yarnbombers are also involved. But yeah, you probably wouldn’t want to meet local rebels.