Craft Happenings: Fall 2023
Craft Happenings: Fall 2023
Step into fall with these 23 craft exhibitions and events around the country, organized by the month in which they start.
Recuerdos de Papel / Paper Memories: Contemporary Papel Picado by Beatriz Vasquez
Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, Indiana
August 12–October 7, 2023
In this exhibition, Indianapolis-based Vasquez, who describes herself as a “Chicanx artivist,” expands the delicate, intricate Mexican cut-paper folk art called papel picado (“perforated paper”) into large-scale paper murals, sculpture, installations, and wearable art—all in aid of a colorful and experimental exploration of her heritage.
For this year’s Atrium Project—presenting work of emerging and mid-career Hispanic and Latinx artists—Peruvian American artist Sarah Zapata literally weaves together the multiple strands of her background in fiber works that ask questions about gender, labor, and identity. The pieces allow the viewer to go deeper into the inquiry by incorporating performance.
Eternal Medium: Seeing the World in Stone
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
August 20, 2023–February 11, 2024
An 18th-century snuffbox in the shape of a dog, included in Eternal Medium, is made of white stone flecked with points of black, creating a Dalmatian effect that also resembles a negative image of the night sky. All the works here show how artists through the ages have showcased Rorschach-like fascination with intricately patterned stone.
Color Culture: Our History and Heritage Through Fiber
Thousand Islands Art Center, Clayton, New York
August 23–November 17, 2023
This exploration of what the organizers call “personal heritage and cultural history through the use of color” is presented in collaboration with the Fiber Artists Miami Association, an artist-led group that promotes education in textile traditions and technical and artistic development in the fiber arts.
Climate Awakening: Crafting A Sustainable Future
Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
September 8, 2023–January 13, 2024
Accompanying this assemblage of craft-based artworks addressing climate change and its multiple effects on ecosystems and human beings will be a series of what the organizers call “action events.” These community-outreach gatherings are intended to translate the works’ messages into concrete efforts to help mitigate the effects of the climate crisis.
Chiffon Thomas: The Cavernous
The Aldrich, Ridgefield, Connecticut
September 15, 2023–March 3, 2024
Thomas’s wide-ranging work in collage, sculpture, and installation interrogates gender, identity, and colonialism in the context of America’s Black diaspora. The artist typically combines fragmentary castings of their own body with reclaimed architectural elements and Biblical quotations; this show presents new work featuring the human body fused with that icon of 1960s futurism, the geodesic dome.
Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
September 17, 2023–January 21, 2024
The birth and growth of abstract painting is one of the key themes of artistic modernism. Less well known is the parallel development of abstraction in woven textiles and pre-loom processes such as basketry, knotting, and netting. Here, more than 150 works demonstrate the complex dialogue between these kindred abstractions during the past 100 years.
Ruth Duckworth: Life as a Unity
September 21, 2023–February 4, 2024
Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, Illinois
Duckworth, known primarily as a “British studio potter,” actually spent the latter half of her life—nearly 50 years—living and working in Chicago, identifying herself as a “sculptor with clay,” and being deeply influenced by currents in American art. The Smart presents a comprehensive view of her environmentally focused work, including tile installations and murals, wall works, and sculptures.
Face Value: Portraits from the Arthur S. Goldberg Collection
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts
September 23, 2023–April 7, 2024
Drawn from the collection of a major Massachusetts collector and philanthropist, this assembly of works in one of the most familiar of artistic genres includes paintings and drawings, but goes beyond paper, oil, and canvas to include pieces in ceramic and resin as well. They share space with works from the Fuller’s permanent collection previously donated by Goldberg.
Sightlines on Peace, Power, and Prestige: Metal Arts in Africa
Bard Graduate Center, New York, New York
September 29–December 31, 2023
The Bard Center hosts a traveling exhibition of traditional African iron, brass, bronze, gold, copper, silver, and alloy objects organized by the University of Florida’s Harn Museum of Art, including body adornments, scepters, weapons, currency, and amulets, and adds a powerful update: a set of metal pieces by contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora.
Weaving at Black Mountain College:
Anni Albers, Trude Guermonprez, and Their Students
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
Asheville, North Carolina
September 29, 2023–January 6, 2024
Instituted by Anni Albers in 1934, Black Mountain’s textile program never garnered the fame of the fine art and literary programs of the legendary experimental school, and retrospective exhibitions have neglected it as well. This show redresses the imbalance, offering the work of Black Mountain students and contemporary artists who continue the legacy of the BMC weavers.
Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
October 6, 2023–January 2, 2024
Fine examples of saddlemaking, bit and spur crafting, silversmithing, and rawhide braiding will be on display in this show of the arts associated with the ultimate Western icon. The exhibition is mounted—no pun intended—by the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association, all of whose members, besides being artists, are real working cowhands.
A New Deal for Quilts
International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska
October 6, 2023–April 20, 2024
In the wake of COVID, when many who were housebound turned to quilting for comfort and self-expression, this show looks to another traumatic period, the Great Depression, when New Deal agencies highlighted quilts as symbols of American frugality and perseverance, and promoted quilting as a vocational skill for women. Colorful quilts are accompanied by the stories of the makers.
Rick Dillingham: To Make, Unmake, and Make Again
New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
October 6, 2023–June 16, 2024
After renowned Santa Fe scholar, author, collector, curator, dealer, and ceramic artist Dillingham died in 1994, his works were distributed far and wide—from New Mexico to London. The New Mexico Museum of Art has gathered the largest collection of his pieces ever assembled and shows them with select artworks and Indigenous ceramics from Dillingham’s personal collection.
Cannupa Hanska Luger: Speechless
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada
October 7, 2023–June 2, 2024
Luger creates installations recontextualizing Indigenous experience in new contexts, including science fiction. Speechless references cargo cults, which appeared during World War II, when massive influxes of supplies for American troops on Pacific islands inspired Indigenous people to use magic to bring this prosperity to their own communities. Feathers crafted of paper, ceramic audio speakers, and other elements combine in a retro-futuristic take on this phenomenon.
Between Horizons: Korean Ceramic Artists in the US
The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
October 12–December 31, 2023
The 12 makers featured here all came to the United States and Canada from South Korea to pursue graduate degrees in the ceramic arts. At a time when immigration is a hot-button issue in the US, the show highlights the effects of this major geographical and cultural dislocation on their work and their thinking about art and identity.
Toshiko Takaezu // Lenore Tawney
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
October 14, 2023–March 25, 2024
Ceramist Takaezu and fiber artist Tawney forged a close friendship for half a century until Tawney’s death in 2007, living together and sharing studio space between 1977 and 1981. Crystal Bridges reunites the friends by bringing together seven of Takaezu’s dynamically glazed ceramic sculptures along with two dramatic, large-scale weavings, two drawings, and an assemblage by Tawney.
47th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 3–5, 2023
This jury-chosen exhibition showcases the work of 195 artists in basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, wearable fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, and wood. An added bonus: selected work by student artists from local colleges and universities. There’s a preview gala on November 2.
Stephen Talasnik: FLOE
Museum for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 3, 2023–February 18, 2024
Philly-born artist Talasnik presents a collection of “archaeological artifacts,” constructed of wood, bamboo, and composite materials, testifying to a vanished future Philadelphia, buried by a natural disaster brought on by climate change. Many of the objects evoke the fate of the most vulnerable: the impoverished, the unhoused, and the stateless.
Fooling the Eye: Optics of Vasarely and Kuhn
Cafesjian Art Trust, Shoreview, Minnesota
November 9, 2023–May 5, 2024
Along with paintings by Victor Vasarely, the Hungarian-born godfather of Op Art, this exhibition highlights the complex glass pieces of North Carolina–based John Kuhn, who works with cold glass pieces that he cuts, polishes, assembles, and fuses. The resulting sculpture reflects and refracts surrounding light in the manner of an outsized diamond. The Cafesjian was recently established by Gerard Cafesjian to share his collection of contemporary and modern art with a focus on glass.
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