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Shows to See: February/March 2013

Shows to See: February/March 2013

Shows to See: February/March 2013

February/March 2013 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff

CA / San Francisco
Museum of Craft and Design
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller
Feb. 17 – Apr. 21

Office furniture company Herman Miller rose to prominence in the 1950s, working with now-legendary artists and designers such as George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, and Alexander Girard. It continues to make many classic designs today, for both home and work. This interactive exhibition at the newly reopened San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design peeks into the creative processes behind iconic designs with drawings, models, prototypes, photographs, and oral histories, as well as many original objects.

MA / Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
New Blue and White
Feb. 20  –  Jul. 14

Traditional blue-and-white ceramics date back to early Islamic and Asian cultures over the last millennium and have been embraced by Europeans and Americans for several centuries. This exhibition displays work from contemporary artists using this classic color scheme to tackle current ideas about politics, family, and aesthetics. Exhibiting artists and designers from around the globe include American Chris Antemann, known for her delicate porcelain vignettes, and Japanese ceramic artist Katsuyo Aoki, as well as U.S. fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who work under the label Rodarte and apply the blue-and-white palette to apparel.

NY / Corning
Corning Museum of Glass
Masters of Studio Glass: Richard Marquis
Feb. 16 – Feb. 2, 2014

This exhibition, part of the Corning Museum’s Masters of Studio Glass series, explores the colorful, often entertaining work of Richard Marquis, a pioneer in the contemporary studio glass movement. Drawing on CMOG’s rich collection, the show highlights Marquis’ long career – including the iconic Lord’s Prayer (early 1970s), which set a new standard for meticulous detail – as well as his willingness to experiment and, most important, have fun.

NY / Long Island City
The Noguchi Museum
Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice
to Apr. 28

This exhibition takes viewers behind the scenes of legendary sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi’s five studios, located in New York, Japan, and Italy. Photographs, film footage, and the artist’s working tools from his 50-year career provide insight into the process and drive of a man who created an enormous body of work.

OR / Portland
Hoffman Gallery at Lewis & Clark
Fighting Men: Leon Golub, Peter Voulkos, and Jack Kirby
to Mar. 3

Though contemporaries, painter Leon Golub, sculptor Peter Voulkos, and cartoonist Jack Kirby lived and operated in separate spheres. “Fighting Men” draws parallels among these three men, known for their often aggressive, fragmented aesthetic, quite radical at the time. Themes of alienation, anger, and violence emerge throughout the exhibition, shedding new conceptual light on the work of the artists and hinting at shared influence.

TX / Dallas
Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass
20th annual Scent Bottle Invitational
Feb. 2 – Mar. 2

Here is a celebration of fragrance aimed at the eyes, not the nose. More than 65 contemporary glass artists – including Roger Gandelman, Thomas Philabaum, and Shane Fero – have crafted exquisite perfume bottles for this event, now in its 20th year.

TX / Houston
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
2013 NCECA Biennial
to May 5

Held in conjunction with the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference in Houston (March 20 – 23), this juried exhibition features submissions by NCECA members from around the world, showcasing some of the best ceramic work being made today. Jurors are sculptor Cristina Córdova, ceramic artist Richard Notkin, and ACC trustee Namita Gupta Wiggers, director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

WA / Bellevue
Bellevue Arts Museum
Maneki Neko: Japan’s Beckoning Cats – From Talisman to Pop Icon
Feb. 22 – Aug. 4

Cats are more popular than ever – as YouTube attests – and perhaps no more so than in Japan. This feline-friendly exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum shows off 155 cat statues from collector Billie Moffitt, in materials such as wood, stone, clay, and papier-mâché. See their paws raised in a Japanese gesture of greeting (maneki neko means “beckoning cat”), and you can’t help but say “Hello, kitty.”

MD / Baltimore
Maryland Institute College of Art
PA / Philadelphia
University of the Arts
Lenore Tawney: Wholly Unlooked For
to Mar. 17

In conjunction with the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, two universities host complementary exhibitions honoring Tawney, a leading figure in the contemporary fiber arts movement. On display will be her drawings, weavings, sculptures, and installations, as well as studio materials and personal belongings that inspired her. We talked to Piper Shepard and American Craft Council trustee Susie Brandt, curators for the MICA show, about the exhibitions.

This show is unusual in that it displays Lenore Tawney’s personal belongings alongside her artwork. How were the personal belongings chosen? How do they enhance the viewer’s experience?
Because these exhibitions are being displayed in schools full of curious young artists, we felt they should address both Tawney’s work and her life. The objects tell a kind of back story that we felt would be valuable to young people developing their identities as artists. Lenore Tawney lived in a series of light-filled New York lofts, surrounded by carefully arranged objects – objects found on the street, collected from nature, purchased at flea markets and during her travels. She had beautiful books and works by fellow artists, and some of her treasures found their way into her collage and assemblage work. Her objects reveal the life of a downtown New York artist in the second half of the 20th century. We felt her studio materials and personal objects had a valuable lesson to teach – namely, the value of being informed creatively by our surroundings.

What was the impetus behind a co-curated simultaneous exhibition at two separate academic institutions?
In the early 1990s, Lenore Tawney exhibited work at both schools, and in 1992 she received an honorary doctorate from MICA. Her legacy has continued through endowed scholarships at both schools. Somehow we found out that both UArts and MICA were thinking about doing Tawney shows, so we decided to collaborate. MICA’s show features more line- and thread- based work, and UArts features more collage- and assemblage-based work.

Your press release features this quotation from Tawney: “To be an artist, you must be brave.” How does this show reflect her bravery as a maker?
Tawney moved to New York in 1957 to live a life wholly committed to her work as an artist. No small feat for anyone, but especially for a woman at that time. For the next 50 years she made extraordinarily innovative work. Her independence and innovation, both as an artist and as a human being, took exceptional bravery. She was a woman with some nerve!