Margolles: Common Thread: Teresa Margolles at the Neuberger Museum of Art

Article: Common Thread: Teresa Margolles at the Neuberger Museum of Art


"Six pieces of embroidered cloth—the smallest about as big as a baby blanket, the largest the size of a bedspread—lie on flat plinths, waist high, illuminated from underneath in the otherwise lightless room that houses Margolles’s “We Have a Common Thread” at the Neuberger Museum of Art. The works aren’t protected by glass, and it’s easy to lean over to observe the stitching, getting close to the material. One barely notices the spotty discoloration in the first two encountered in the room, but by the third, the rusty stains become more pronounced—the mark that blood leaves on fabric.

Five of the six tapestries bear these stains. Margolles acquired cloths from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, and Mexico, and each carries the dna of a person (mostly female) who died a violent death in a crime that was mishandled, or even ignored. Margolles returned each marked fabric to the victim’s community, where a group of artisans worked over it using decorative methods specific to that region. A sixth textile was created in New York, but instead of blood, this one bears an imprint of the ground, with small scraps of detritus and scuffs from being pressed and dragged along the section of concrete in Staten Island where Eric Garner lost his life in July 2014 after a mishandled arrest by New York City police officers."  

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