John Paul Morabito

Work

Exhibition: A Chorus of Twisted Threads, March 2023

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (red and blue like how your body pulses to the beat} | 2022 | cotton and glass beads | 92 x 46 inches  (237.36 cm x 118.68 cm) | Private Collection

John Paul Morabito | Studio View

John Paul Morabito | Studio View

Exhibition: A Chorus of Twisted Threads, March 2023

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (magenta like the ecstasy of dancing with sorrow | 2022 | cotton and glass beads | 88 x 45 inches  (227.04 cm x 116.1 cm)

 

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (magenta like the ecstasy of dancing with sorrow | 2022 | cotton and glass beads | 88 x 45 inches  (227.04 cm x 116.1 cm)

 

Exhibition: A Chorus of Twisted Threads, March 2023

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (magenta like the ecstasy of dancing with sorrow | 2022 | cotton and glass beads | 88 x 45 inches  (227.04 cm x 116.1 cm)

 

John Paul Morabito | Studio View

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (rose like sweet and sweaty intoxication} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (red and blue like a kiss you will never taste again} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (red and blue like a kiss you will never taste again} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

Spring Break Art Fair 2023

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (red and blue like a kiss you will never taste again} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (rose like sweet and sweaty intoxication} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | Studio View

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (rose like sweet and sweaty intoxication} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

Spring Break Art Fair 2023

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (red and blue like a kiss you will never taste again} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | La Madonna del Granduca (dopo Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino) | 2020 | cotton, wool and glass beads | 78 x 41 inches  (201.24 cm x 105.78 cm)

John Paul Morabito | La Madonna del Granduca (dopo Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino) | 2020 | cotton, wool and glass beads | 78 x 41 inches  (201.24 cm x 105.78 cm)

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like the sunrise after staying up all night} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like the sunrise after staying up all night} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like twilight, and then the dawn} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

Art in Embassies – Department of State

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like twilight, and then the dawn} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

Art in Embassies – Department of State

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like twilight, and then the dawn} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 90 x 46 inches

Art in Embassies – Department of State

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like sorrow} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 88 x 45 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like sorrow} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 88 x 45 inches

John Paul Morabito | For Felix (yellow like sorrow} | 2021 | cotton and glass beads | 88 x 45 inches

Videos

BrooklynRail: On-the-Spot with John Paul Morabito, November 25th, 2020

Thank you to the @brooklynrail for this wonderful feature in the Weekend Journal • Weaver John Paul Morabito (@johnpaulmorabito) joins us from their home studio for Weekend Journal #66. Morabito discusses their investigations into woven live forms and queering Italian American Catholicism from the inside, finishing with a thought on fringes as a queer positionality, Felix Torres-Gonzáles, and the shadow of the AIDS crisis. In good concert with Sheila Pepe’s recent Weekend Journal and Italian American aesthetic sensibility, Morabito also includes an accompanying song. Transdisciplinary weaver, John Paul Morabito (b. 1982, Bronx, NY) engages queerness, ethnicity, and the sacred through the medium of tapestry reimagined in the digital age. Their work outputs woven forms, moving images, and performances that look toward a future-past horizon where one can exalt queer devotion and grace. Public collections include the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec. Morabito holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they served on the faculty as Assistant Professor, Adj. Morabito is Assistant Professor and Head of Textiles at the School of Art at Kent State University.

My tangent, For Félix, takes the form of shimmering beaded tapestries that confront COVID-19 with the ghost of AIDS. These glittering tapestries manifest queer joy to proclaim that we are here, and we sparkle. In this series, brightly patterned handwoven textiles are removed from the loom before they are complete, leaving lengths of unwoven warps that are threaded with glass beads.

BIO

Transdisciplinary weaver John Paul Morabito engages queerness, ethnicity, and the sacred through the medium of tapestry reimagined in the digital age. Their work outputs woven forms, moving images, and relational actions that look toward a future-past horizon where one can exalt queer grace.

“I am defiantly a weaver. Through this position, I reconsider tapestry as a modality in which image, matter, technology, and embodiment provide productive conflicts for constructing form. Drag, in all its bombastic and glittering glory, is a guiding sensibility which I engage as a queer methodology to decadently retrace (and undo) faith, history, and legacy. Here, I employ digital interfaces in concert with improvisational handwork to mutate relics, devotional images, and ritual matter into opulent woven memorials that twist time. This temporal folding is further explored by drawing live weaving into videos and performances that engage time-based media through the linear logic of weaving. The resulting objects, videos, and performances are unbound from chrononormativity to rest, uncomfortably, within queer temporality. Released from the tyranny of the present, my work looks toward a future-past horizon where one can exalt queer grace”.    

– John Paul Morabito

Tapestries were one of the more effective propaganda tools of early church and state. John Paul Morabito’s tapestries enlist this same methodology to contort the tropes of faith, bequeathing Queer assignation to sacred church Renaissance paintings in the series Magnificat. Morabito grew up in the Catholic Church, a second-generation Italian American who is gay. John Paul employs Goth overtones to deftly reframe the stigmatization and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church toward Queer communities and culture. By changing the intention and material of early devotional paintings, they deliberately stage a Queer melodrama with a subtle but explicit intervention, cloaking the paintings of Madonna and Child in Drag – a Queer allegory turning sacred to Camp. Draped in saturated color, beaded and swathed in gold, their tapestries are a tribute to Queer life and community.

The series For Félix (love letter), is an homage to Félix González-Torres, who succumbed to AIDS in the ’90s. Morabito’s series is a corollary to the exquisite homoerotic beaded curtains of González-Torres, a powerful metaphoric veil between sex, life and death. Morabito’s beaded tapestries offer a ravishing tribute to González-Torres, but also deliver a celebratory fist to subsequent Queer generations. Like González-Torres’, Morabito’s art is a protest against religious and institutional policies as the guiding moral orthodoxy. Their subtle but powerful interventions in For Félix (love letter) reinterpret sanctity with a seductive queer protest. Beading the long strands of thread is analogous to the beaded Rosary, only instead of contrition, Morabito’s act is erotic, lacing their tapestry with desire, intimacy, exaltation, and remembrance.

In 2022 Morabito was appointed Assistant Professor and Head of Textiles at Kent State University and now resides in Ohio. From 2013 to 2022 Morabito was Assistant Professor, Adj. of Fiber and Material Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL.  They serve as Director-at-Large for the American Tapestry Alliance and Poly-Chair for the Queer & Trans Caucus for Art. Morabito holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In tandem with their studio, John Paul Morabito pursues a practice-led scholarship that positions weaving as a critical platform of cultural production. Their writing has been published in Art China, The Textile Reader 2 (China Academy of Art), The Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, Textile: Cloth and Culture, and Bloomsbury’s forthcoming Encyclopedia of World Textiles. They are the editor of Weaving Beyond the Binary, a special issue of the international peer reviewed journal, Textile: Cloth and Culture. Their work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions, with upcoming exhibitions including the Art in Embassies Program, Washington, DC;  and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, NC, The Threads We Follow, curated by Maya Brooks.

 

 

Press

February 16, 2023
Artnet News
September 24, 2022
warp and weft
September 24, 2022
mr x stitch
June 15, 2021
Textile Society of America