Shows to See: August/September 2015

Shows to See: August/September 2015

Published on Monday, July 20, 2015. This article appears in the August/September 2015 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
Ralph Pucci sculpture

Ralph Pucci at the Museum of Arts and Design; Photo: Antoine Bootz

AL / Mobile
Mobile Museum of Art
Charles Smith: Black Hands/I Am
to Oct. 11
This retrospective of Mobile native Charles Smith’s 40 years in clay embodies his view of art as “a maturing process, not a series of radical departures.” He adorns his classic forms with hand-carved and sgraffito patterns and imagery, expressing themes from the natural world that he has returned to since his early days as an artist. 

CA / Los Angeles
Hammer Museum
The Afghan Carpet Project
to Sep. 27
This is a tale of shuttling. Last year, Los Angeles artists Lisa Anne Auerbach, Liz Craft, Meg Cranston, Francesca Gabbiani, Jennifer Guidi, and Toba Khedoori traveled to Afghanistan to study how carpet weavers there live and work. Back home, each artist created a carpet design. The six designs were sent off to Afghanistan to be hand-woven. Then the finished carpets journeyed back to LA for this show. Net proceeds from sales (five of each design are available) will benefit Arzu Studio Hope, an organization that offers Afghan women fair-wage jobs and access to health care and education. 

CT / Waterbury
Mattatuck Museum
Spirit of Place: Don Gummer, Drawings and Wall Reliefs, 1975 – 2015
to Sep. 13
The architecturally and geometrically configured wall reliefs in this show had their genesis in a 1970s motorcycle crash. As he recovered, Don Gummer, best known for huge installations and freestanding metal sculptures, used the time to develop the first of these wooden structures. The reliefs here, along with preliminary drawings for some of them, offer a fresh perspective on the artist’s process and his ever-evolving work. 

FL / Melbourne
Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology
Southern Accents
to Aug. 22
Climate, food, history, regional traditions – what influences make a Southern artist Southern, or more specifically, Southeastern? The quilts in this juried show are the artists’ replies. Participants are members of Studio Art Quilt Associates living in the Southeast. 

ME / Somesville
Pritam & Eames North/The Gallery at Somes Sound
Garry Knox Bennett: Inside
to Aug. 15
Multifaceted artist Garry Knox Bennett has been in the vanguard of the American studio furniture movement for more than 50 years, so it’s perhaps not surprising that the ACC Fellow’s own home in Oakland, California, contains enough of his work to fill a gallery. Pieces here are drawn from his household furnishings, which the gallery partners saw during a 2014 visit and decided to make the centerpiece of the first show in their new Maine location. Also on view: furniture by other luminaries such as Wendell Castle, Judy Kensley McKie, Kristina Madsen, Tom Hucker, Jere Osgood, Timothy Philbrick, James Schriber, William Walker, and Wendy Maruyama.

MA / Boston
Institute of Contemporary Art
Arlene Shechet: All at Once
to Sep. 7
Hot glass cools; paper pulp firms; plaster dries: The moments when fluid materials become solid often are when sculptor Arlene Shechet finds her exuberant forms. She has continued these collaborations with chance over the past decade while exploring the immediacy of clay; some of the 150 works in this show were made during a recent residency at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory in Germany. This is the first museum survey of the artist’s 20-year career. 

NY / New York City
Museum of Arts and Design
Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin
to Aug. 30
Ralph Pucci’s business blossomed in the 1970s, just as high-profile “supermodels” were beginning to flaunt their personalities in their work. His mannequins are the inanimate analogue: They are no mere objects on which to hang clothes. Through three decades, these 30-plus sculptural forms have represented their particular cultural moments – or have led the way, influencing how the public has viewed fashion, beauty, and the human body. Pucci’s master sculptor and longtime collaborator, Michael Evert, will be in residence, demonstrating the process from clay model to final fiberglass form.

NY / New York City
Museum of Modern Art
Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960 – 1971
to Sep. 7
Make your mind into a museum – attend the Yoko Ono show that is always going on in there (apologies to Grapefruit, her book of instructions). Or you can go to MoMA and see more than 100 of her early objects, installations, films, works on paper, and other key pieces of her conceptual and avant-garde art. This is the artist’s first one-woman show at MoMA. (Unless it isn’t – she advertised one in 1971, but had neither the museum’s participation nor any work inside it; outside, a sign suggested that arriving visitors follow flies Ms. Ono had allegedly released into the city.)  

OR / Portland
Museum of Contemporary Craft
State of Oregon Craft
to Aug. 15
Curators Nicole Nathan and Namita Gupta Wiggers (an ACC trustee) crisscrossed the state to find makers and works that represent Oregon’s creative spirit. From baskets to jewelry, glass to kinetic sculpture, the 50-plus pieces on view by 15 makers make clear that in artistic innovation and production, Oregon does not trail. 

TN / Smithville
Appalachian Center for Craft
Assorted Objects: Andy Cooperman
Sep. 4 – Oct. 4
What shines in Andy Cooperman’s jewelry and sculpture, besides precious metals and stones, is his joy in the adventure of making. In a high-tech era, he still delights in forging, carving, and fabricating his work by hand; investigating how metals behave when heated or pounded, he has written, is like “learning to speak a bunch of regional dialects.”  

TN / Memphis
Metal Museum
A Kind of Confession
to Sep. 13
What does it mean to be American? In a diverse, often noisy land, whose stories do we listen to, and who tells them? How do history and heritage make themselves felt, on both a personal and a national level? Eleven African American artists – Sonya Clark, Joyce Scott, David H. Clemons, Tanya Crane, Jordan Baker-Caldwell, Melvin Edwards, Helen Elliott, Richard Hunt, Preston Jackson, William Rhodes, and Shani Richards – take on these questions in about 40 works. 

WI / Racine
Racine Art Museum
All in the Family: Featuring Kelly and Kyle Phelps
to Oct. 4
Whether it’s nature or nurture, in some families, exceptional talent is just … normal. And when artists are as close as parents and children, husbands and wives, or siblings, the relationship may echo in the art. Works from RAM’s own collection are augmented with ceramic pieces by twin brothers Kelly and Kyle Phelps (see “American Made,” Jun./Jul. 2013), who think of their collaboratively produced figurative reliefs as the work of a single artist.

View the complete shows and events calendar.