Shows to See: August / September 2017

Shows to See: August / September 2017

Shows to See: August / September 2017

August/September 2017 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Wendell Castle bench

Wendell Castle at RAM

Michael Tropea

Giants Among Us: Three shows celebrate the outsize contributions of cultural colossi: an Alexander Girard retrospective in Michigan; a birthday party for Jack Lenor Larsen in Minnesota; and in Santa Fe, a show of jewelry inspired by an opera about tech whiz Steve Jobs.

CA / Los Angeles
Craft & Folk Art Museum
The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility
Sep. 10 – Jan. 7
For politicians, our southern border may be an ideological battleground, but for artists, it’s one long stretch of inspiration. The works on view here, by about 40 artists including Teddy Cruz, Adrian Esparza, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, and Ana Serrano, cross disciplinary boundaries as they take on themes such as labor, immigration, identity, and cultural heritage. 

CA / San Francisco
deYoung Museum
Revelations: Art from the African American South
to Apr. 1
Making their deYoung debut are 62 works the museum has acquired from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta: paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by 22 contemporary African American artists, among them Thornton Dial, Ronald Lockett, Bessie Harvey, and Joe Minter. A companion show from another recent acquisition, the Paulson Fontaine Press archives, includes works by four Gee’s Bend quilters. 

MI / Bloomfield Hills
Cranbrook Art Museum
Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe
to Oct. 8
Alexander Girard (1907 – 93) was a titan of midcentury modern design, whose influence was felt in architecture, furniture, textiles, interior design, and graphics. He brought a sense of color, texture, and decoration to the sleek aesthetic of the era. This panoramic retrospective, which originated at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, makes its US debut here, with a myriad of objects from Girard’s design career, drawings and collages never before on public view, and hundreds of pieces from his own folk art collection.

MN / St. Paul
Goldstein Museum of Design
Jack Lenor Larsen at 90: Transformations by a Textile Innovator
Sep. 23 – Jan. 7
Textile designer, author, weaver, craft enthusiast, and globetrotter Jack Lenor Larsen (DOB: Aug. 5) gets a slightly belated birthday-celebration show of the textile designs he considers the most groundbreaking of his wildly influential career. Plans call for the anniversarian himself to attend the opening reception on Sept. 22. 

NM / Santa Fe
Museum of International Folk Art
No Idle Hands: The Myths & Meanings of Tramp Art
to Sep. 16, 2018
Tramp art, a notched and layered style of woodworking that became popular around the turn of the 20th century and is still made today (and, despite its misnomer, not just by vagrants), is exemplified here in more than 150 objects, including work by modern-day makers. This is the first major exhibition of tramp art in more than 40 years. 

NM / Santa Fe
Patina Gallery
Crafted Visions: The Tension of Opposites
to Aug. 14
As the Santa Fe Opera premieres The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Patina Gallery debuts a collection of jewelry inspired by the opera: pieces by 13 cutting-edge artists who aim to create work as revolutionary as the tech pioneer’s. 

NY / New York City
The Museum of Modern Art
Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
to Aug. 13
Between World War II and the dawn of modern feminism in the late 1960s, women artists were disregarded in an art world with a Mad Men ethos. Nevertheless, they persisted, and even flourished. The almost 100 midcentury works here, by more than 50 artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks, and Lenore Tawney, all are drawn from the museum’s collection and exemplify the era’s fascination with abstraction. 

OR / Portland
Bullseye Projects
Transformations: Ligia Bouton, Kate Clements, Emily Counts, Emily Nachison, and Judy Tuwaletstiwa
to Sep. 30
In these artists’ hands, the mutable medium of glass is the perfect vehicle to explore physical, metaphysical, and personal aspects of the single constant in the universe: change. 

PA / Pittsburgh
Contemporary Craft
Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home
Sep. 8 – Feb. 17
At a moment when tens of millions of people around the world – the most ever – are refugees or homeless, Contemporary Craft shines a light on safe housing as a basic human right. This show includes 40 works by a dozen artists such as Charity White, Holly Grace, and Motoko Furuhashi. 

WI / Milwaukee
Morning Glory Fine Craft Fair
Aug. 12 – 13
The Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council, which celebrates 101 years of promoting craft in the Badger State, presents the 43rd iteration of its juried show. 

WI / Racine
Racine Art Museum
75 at 75: Significant Works from RAM’s Collection
Sep. 17 – Jan. 7
From its collection of 10,000 objects, the museum has chosen 75, each with a history and importance of its own. Seen together, they tell the larger story of how the museum has grown in the past three-quarters of a century into a major repository of craft.