Shows to See: December / January 2019

Shows to See: December / January 2019

Published on Friday, December 14, 2018. This article appears in the December/January 2019 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
Kim Fox work

Kim Fox at Contemporary Craft

Matt Dayak

In the heart of winter, exhibitions show up-close views of three very different artists and their work. In Anchorage, Gertrude Svarny’s art illuminates aspects of her life and Alaska Native culture. In Connecticut, master weaver Helena Hernmarck invites viewers directly into her process. And in Bellevue, Washington, Clyde Petersen’s cardboard sculptures take visitors on the road with the punk bands he shepherded for two decades.

AK / Anchorage
Anchorage Art Museum
"Gertrude Svarny: Ukuqanaadan"
to January 20
Gertrude Svarny finds art materials such as sea lion whiskers, sinew, and seal intestine in her native Aleutian Islands; the history, culture, and maritime home of her Unangax people provide her subject matter and inspiration. This show of the multifaceted artist includes 70 of her works in weaving, carving, and bentwood.

AR / Little Rock
Clinton Presidential Center
"The White House Collection of American Crafts: 25th Anniversary Exhibit"
to March 31
Once upon a time, Republican President George H.W. Bush declared 1993 the “Year of American Craft”; Hillary Clinton, First Lady of the succeeding Democratic administration, brought it to fruition. (And that, dear reader, is what bipartisan cooperation looked like before it turned into a unicorn and flew away.) This show, with work by some of the greatest artists in the land (Sam Maloof, Dale Chihuly, Robyn Horn), is on view for the first time since 2000.

CA / Los Angeles
Fowler Museum at UCLA
"Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths"
to December 30
For more than 2,000 years, African blacksmiths have heated and hammered their elemental material into tools, weapons, jewelry, currency, musical instruments, and symbols of spirituality and power. The 225-plus works in iron comprise a spectacular survey of skills and styles across time and the vast sub-Saharan part of the continent, revealing how objects and cultures help shape one another.

CA / Pomona
American Museum of Ceramic Art
"The Incongruous Body"
to January 20
The title refers to philosophy’s incongruity theory, which posits that humor happens when the concept of a thing and the real world perception of it don’t line up. The human body is a figure of fun in thought- and smile-provoking work by 14 artists.

CT / Ridgefield
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
"Helena Hernmarck: Weaving in Progress"
to January 19
Diverse and finely rendered imagery, trompe l’oeil techniques, and glowing colors are some of the trademarks of revered weaver Helena Hernmarck. Amid photos, prototypes, and other artifacts from her half-century career, the artist weaves on-site three days a week, making her process as much a part of the show as the work itself.

DE / Winterthur
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
"Dining by Design: Nature Displayed on the Dinner Table"
to January 6
Nature meets nurture in this globe-spanning show of ceramic and silver dinnerware from the 1600s to the present, adorned with images of flowers, leaves, birds, fruits, and animals, arranged to suggest how these pieces were used in their natural habitats.

MN / St. Paul
Minnesota Museum of American Art
"100 Years and Counting"
December 2 – February 17
To celebrate reopening in its new, bigger space, the museum has chosen about 45 pieces from its collection. Among them: works of midcentury studio craft and Native American art, wood sculpture by George Morrison, and recent acquisitions by contemporary artists.

NC / Asheville
The Center for Craft
"In Times of Seismic Sorrows"
to January 26
Rena Detrixhe and Tali Weinberg have created weaving, sculpture, installation, and prints to explore and mourn how climate change, water pollution, and other human byproducts affect Earth, and to envision how we might mend our relationship with it.

PA / Pittsburgh
Contemporary Craft
"Transformation 10: Contemporary Works in Found Materials"
to March 23
All 26 winners of Contemporary Craft’s annual Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize have work in this biennial show. This year’s theme is found materials. Seattle artist Melissa Cameron, the current winner, collected materials from the 55 sites where gun violence occurred in this country on one day (January 1, 2017), then used them to create portraits of the 66 guns involved. Other artists include Katie Hudnall, Ted Lott, and Ellie Richards, all recently profiled in these pages. Also on view until January 5: “Handwork,” 15 of Kim Fox’s colorful meditations on birds, bees, and the circle of decay and rebirth in her quilts of salvaged wood and tin.

PA / Wayne
Wayne Art Center
"Cast: Art & Objects"
"Craft Forms 2018"
December 7 – January 26 
Jen Townsend and Renée Zettle-Sterling, authors of Cast: Art and Objects Made Using Humanity’s Most Transformational Process, curate an exhibition based on their encyclopedic book, which explores what glories can result when artists pour a liquefied material – porcelain, rubber, glass, metal, wax, and plaster, to name a few – into a mold. On view: work by 80 artists such as Emiko Oye, and ACC Fellows Myra Mimlitsch-Gray and Tom Joyce. (For a review of the book, see Oct./Nov. 2017.) Concurrently, the 24th juried international “Craft Forms” show presents work by emerging and established artists.

TX / Houston
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
"CraftTexas 2018" 
to January 6 
This is the 10th annual juried roundup of the state’s finest craft, with 50 works by 36 Lone Star artists.

WA / Bellevue
Bellevue Arts Museum
"Clyde Petersen: Merch & Destroy"
to April 14 
After 20 years as a tour manager, Clyde Petersen knows the seamy underbelly (i.e., the only underbelly) of traveling with punk bands. With a soundtrack culled from his erstwhile roadmates’ work, these cardboard structures and sculptures evoke the chaos and community found in grungy green rooms and grimy tour vans.