Jan Yoors is the Fleming who single-handedly updated the ancient art of tapestry and brought it into the fast lane of American modern art after settling in New York in the 1950’s. Beatrice V. Thornton’s article on Jan Yoors in the latest issue of Modern magazine provides a timely revision of the life and work of this fascinating Renaissance man who has been somewhat neglected in recent years.
The article focuses on Yoors’ fascinating life as much as the work. For example, at the age of twelve, the barely adolescent Yoors ran away with a band of gypsies for a number of months, something that would have a lifelong influence on him and his work. During World War II, Yoors ran guns for the resistance, an anti-Nazi commitment that was probably even more deeply felt compared with most given that many of his adopted gypsy family fell victim to the Nazi genocides against the Roma.
Settling in New York in the 1950’s, Yoors drew his disparate strands of a background as a trained sculptor, an avid photographers and someone fascinated by tapestry together. As the article details, his involvement with the contemporaneous art scenes would see him recognised as one of the greatest innovators of the medium of tapestry, bringing it in line with a modernist vision for art.
The article in Modern is not only an inormative read, but deserves recognition for filling a glaring gap in the communal awareness of the place of talented artists working with traditional craft techniques in the second half of the twentieth century.