Shows to See: December / January 2018

Shows to See: December / January 2018

Published on Thursday, December 7, 2017. This article appears in the December/January 2018 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
Deborah Butterfield sculpture

Deborah Butterfield at the Denver Art Museum

Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

California, here we come: The Golden State glitters from north to south with a trove of excellent shows this winter – border-busting art in L.A., luminous Tiffany vases in San Marino, a Ruth Rippon retrospective in Sacramento, a quilt anniversary in San Jose, and Tom Loeser’s mind-altering furniture in San Francisco. Lots to see in the other 49, too.

CA / Los Angeles
Biscailuz Gallery at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument / Craft in America Center
"Borders and Neighbors: Craft Connectivity Between the U.S. and Mexico" 
to Feb. 25 
No security patrols, barbed wire, or wall can stop artistic cross-pollination between adjacent nations, as this show makes clear in works by American and Mexican artists who appear in the “Borders” and “Neighbors” episodes of the Craft in America PBS series. El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the site of this exhibition, is the birthplace of Los Angeles, founded in 1781 by 44 settlers from northern Mexico.

CA / Sacramento
Crocker Art Museum
"Exuberant Earth: Ceramics by Ruth Rippon" 
to Feb. 4 
Teacher, visionary, and artist Ruth Rippon is one of the reasons Northern California is renowned as a center of ceramic art. Here, 90 of her works from the 1950s through the 1990s reveal the curiosity and fearless experimentation that elevate her art, and with it, her artistic community.

CA / San Francisco
Museum of Craft and Design
"Tom Loeser: Please Please Please" 
Jan. 20 – May 20 
Chairs that double as wall hangings, tandem rockers, and benches and chests that spin, swivel, and slide: Tom Loeser turns the tables on expectations of everyday furniture. The 20 or so pieces on view at this show, curated by Glenn Adamson, create an interactive environment that invites viewers to engage with the objects, and with each other.

CA / San Jose
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
"Expressions of Identity: 40th Anniversary Exhibition" 
to Jan. 14 
In this show of recently acquired works, the museum reflects on the identity it has built in four decades as a welcoming place to celebrate and explore quilt and textile art.

CA / San Marino
The Huntington
"Tiffany Favrile Glass: Masterworks from the Collection of Stanley and Dolores Sirott" 
to Feb. 26 
Patented in 1894, Favrile glass is noted for its swirling, incandescent patterns and colors embedded within the glass itself, and is considered Louis Comfort Tiffany’s greatest contribution to the medium. He used it in stained glass as well as in vessels such as the 32 on view here; Favrile vases are held to be among the most beautiful American examples of art nouveau-inspired decorative art.

CO / Denver
Denver Art Museum
"Stampede: Animals in Art" 
to May 19, 2019 
The museum is, for now, an artistic zoo, with more than 300 objects from its collection on view in which animals are the central motifs. In sculptures, masks, paintings, and more, animals are bearers of tales, incarnations of ideas, and carriers of cultural traditions.

IL / Chicago
Smart Museum of Art
"Jayna Zweiman: Welcome Blanket" 
to Dec. 17 
Pussyhat Project co-founder Jayna Zweiman works at the seam that joins art and activism. Her current project began with a call to crafters to make 3,000 blankets. As they are finished and received, the blankets become an installation; at show’s end, they will be distributed to agencies aiding immigrants and refugees. [Read more about the Pussyhat Project in “The Hat That Roared.”]

ME / Rockport
Center for Furniture Craftsmanship
"Contemporary Wood Lighting" 
to Jan. 3 
At the snap of a switch, these sculptural wood lamps, chandeliers, sconces, and pendants perform duets with light. Curator and lighting luminary Christopher Poehlmann chose these works by 23 contemporary designers.

NJ / Millville
WheatonArts and Cultural Center
"The Boroff Collection: Goblets, Memories, and Friendships" 
to Dec. 31 
Raise a glass to collectors Barbara and Alan Boroff, who have collected more than 650 goblets, historical and contemporary, since their first purchase 25 years ago. Here, 62 goblets by 47 artists, a number of whom the Boroffs have come to count as friends, offer a sparkling sip from this panoramic, yet very personal, collection.

NY / Buffalo
Burchfield Penney Art Center
"Art in Craft Media 2017" 
to Jan. 28 
For the 13th iteration of this biennial show that celebrates the creative spirit of western New York, juror and American Craft editor in chief Monica Moses has chosen pieces by almost 50 artists of the region working in traditional craft mediums.

NY / New York City
Museum of Arts and Design
"Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound" 
to Feb. 25 
In our culture of visual bombardment, the eyes have priority over the ears. This show offers a sensory shakeup, with installations, environments, and objects in which sound is an art material. Alongside, “Audiowear,” a show of musical jewelry by Christie Wright and Arjen Noordeman, is on view through Feb. 11.

WA / Bellevue
Bellevue Arts Museum
"Itinerant Edens: A Measure of Disorder" 
to Feb. 11 
Walter McConnell seals his unfired clay figures in translucent cells that recall terrariums or bell jars; as the figures slowly dry and change over the course of the exhibition, their enclosures cloud with moisture. Seven nude male figures, based on scans of live models, will be made on-site for this show.

WA / Tacoma
Museum of Glass
"Michael E. Taylor: Traversing Parallels"
to May 12 
Michael Taylor’s glass constructions, about 30 of which are on view here, are manifestations of his constant curiosity about such topics as science, philosophy, geometry, music, and current events. Beyond the precise surfaces of his works are depths of color and form that beckon viewers into their own investigations.