Jennifer Cecere

Double Doily, 2016

powder-coated aluminum, 60 x 60 x 60 inches, at Greenstreets/MoMA PS1, New York City

Cecere: The Flavor of Domestic Handwork


I was born in Richmond, Indiana, to Italian American parents. After studying at Cornell University in the school of Art, Architecture, and Planning, I moved to an industrial loft in lower Manhattan where I live and work today.


My public art aims to integrate the flavor of domestic handwork into the built environment. My grandparents (both sides) emigrated from Southern Italy insisting on something better for their children. They brought with them cherished traditions, love of family, lacemaking, needlework, recipes, and stories. Their influence continues to inform my life and work today.


When I was growing up in a small Midwestern town, Italian Americans were the “other.” Dark hair and eyes, different food, and grandparents who spoke another language. I loved visiting my aunts, uncles, and cousins in Pittsburgh. The big dinners, full of people, constant chatter, and laughter. As a special after-dinner treat, the cousins were given change to spend at the Meadow Street Bakery. How to choose? I had never seen anything like this before. Grandma also always gave me something she crocheted or embroidered to bring home with me. Seems like this combination of lush icing and needlework stuck.


For over 40 years, I have expanded and experimented with the mapping qualities of needlework as a readymade overlay for organic design in both urban and rural settings.

 

Roca, 2011

installation of laser-cut rip[stop nylon whose segments were sewn by hand at Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, New York, curated by Amy Lipton

Chandelier, 2015

traditional crochet pattern fabricated in water jet steel, installed at the Little Italy-University Circle station of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority

Jennifer Cecere