"Margaret and Christine Wertheim: Value and Transformation of Corals"

New Book – Published in German & English, 2022

Margaret and Christine Wertheim
Value and Transformation of Corals

Edited by Udo Kittelmann, Christine Wertheim, Margaret Wertheim.

Essays by Donna Haraway, Kayleigh C. Perkov, Heather Davis, Margaret Wertheim, Christine Wertheim, Doug Harvey, Amita Deshpande, Cord Riechelman, Judith Irrgang, with preface by Udo Kittelmann. Commissioned photos by Rebecca Rickman and Nickolay Kazakov.chelmann

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This lush full-color publication accompanies a 2022 museum-wide retrospective of the Crochet Coral Reef project at Museum Frieder Burda in Germany. The exhibition gathered together the Wertheims’ crochet reefs created over the past 17 years, alongside the largest-ever community-made reef comprising over 40,000 coral pieces. With commissioned essays about the artistic, scientific, environmental, mathematical, and social dimensions of the project, the book provides a critical in-depth look at a stunning example of the power of art and community in the face of climate change. Collaborative, figurative, material, conceptual, feminist and playful, the Wertheims’ Crochet Coral Reef alerts us to the reality that life on Earth is nothing if not entangled.

With their unique fusion of math, craft, and collective practice, sister artists Christine and Margaret Wertheim create large-scale coralline landscapes both beautiful and blighted. Responding to anthropogenic crisis, their soft sculptures and wall-mounted reliefs simulate living reefs using algorithmic techniques to mimic in yarn the curling, crenelated forms of actual marine organisms. Since they started the project in 2005 their Crochet Coral Reef has been exhibited at the 58th Venice Biennale, Helsinki Biennial, Andy Warhol Museum, Hayward Gallery, The Smithsonian, and many other international venues. In addition to fabricating their own reefs, the Wertheims collaborate with communities around the world – in 50 cities and countries so far – to create local Satellite Reefs, to which more than 20,000 people have contributed, constituting one of the largest and longest running art happenings on the planet. This beautifully produced volume frames the project’s many intellectual dimensions along with 200 pages of photos.

Book designed by Margarethe Hausstatter. Published by Weinand Verlag. German edition available at Museum Frieder Burda concept store. English edition distributed by DAP.
Book Tour Events:
Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles. Saturday December 10, 2022 @3pm
Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles. Saturday January 7, 2023 @12noon
– More events coming soon
ISBN 978-3-86832-676-5 (German edition)
ISBN 978-3-86832-688-8 (English edition)


Crochet jellyfish made of plastic bags

Cover blurb:  “The crochet coral reef is palpable, polymorphous, terrifying, and inspiring stitchery done with every sort of fiber and strand, looped by tens of thousands of people in dozens of nations, who come together to stitch care, beauty, and response-ability in play tanks. This SF worlding is enabled by Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s outrageous, chthonic symbiosis of science, mathematics, art, activism, women’s fiber arts, environmentalism, fabulation, and sheer love of the critters of terra.” – Donna Haraway


Plastic bag jellyfish by Christine and Margaret Wertheim. Photo © Institute For Figuring by Rebecca Rickman