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Shows to See: February/March 2014

Shows to See: February/March 2014

Shows to See: February/March 2014

February/March 2014 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Boris Bally, Brave 3

Boris Bally’s Brave 3 necklace at Society for Contemporary Craft. Photo: Aaron Usher III

AK / Anchorage
Anchorage Museum
Gyre: The Plastic Ocean
Feb. 7 – Sept. 6
No man is an island, nor is his garbage. Gyres, or gigantic spinning systems of ocean currents, send flotsam far and wide: It’s why plastic bags from Japan wash up on the coast of Alaska. In June, the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center dispatched an expedition along the state’s coast to document debris. Then more than 25 artists from around the world used some of those rags, bottles, and miscellaneous beached junk in works that delve into floating rubbish as an unfortunate link between far-flung humans.

CA / San Francisco
DeYoung Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950 – 1990
to Feb. 17
The opulent work of 130-year-old jewelry company Bulgari has sparkled on some celebrated fingers and necks, including Elizabeth Taylor’s. Some of her most famous pieces are on display; they’re among 150 examples of Bulgari’s innovative designs.

CA / San Francisco
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion
Tribal and Textile Arts Show
Feb. 7 – 9
Bill Caskey and Elizabeth Lees, who also produce the New York Ceramics Fair and other high-end shows, present a panoramic view of art by indigenous peoples from around the world. More than 15,000 items – sculpture, textiles, masks, antiques, jewelry, and other objects – are on view in this stringently curated extravaganza, a collectors’ favorite now in its 28th year.

CA / Los Angeles
Craft and Folk Art Museum
Displacements: The Craft Practices of Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin
to Apr. 27
Both artists are Iranian Americans who plumb similar backgrounds in profoundly individual ways. Golnar Adili’s materials here are family ephemera and photographs from the archive of her late father, who was politically active in both the Shah’s Iran and in exile; she uses them to “sound out the contours of being in between two countries, two cultures.” Samira Yamin uses sculpture, installation, and video of her family to examine vision and memory. 

DC / Washington
James Renwick Alliance Spring Craft Weekend
Mar. 28 – 30
The theme of this year’s Craft Weekend, the alliance’s major fundraiser, is “Materialism: The Medium or the Message,” and 2014’s Distinguished Educators – Dan Dailey, Peter Held, Glen Kaufman, and Patti Warashina – will tackle it in a panel discussion.

OH / Columbus
Ohio Craft Museum
In Touch with the Spirit
Feb. 2 – Mar. 23
Baskets, textiles, ceramics, and other objects from Southern University at New Orleans’ collection of African art are juxtaposed with work by seven contemporary African American artists influenced by this creative heritage.

PA / Pittsburgh
Society for Contemporary Craft
Enough Violence: Artists Speak Out
to Mar. 22
Several of the 40-some works on view here are disturbing, but none as much as the crises they address: street crime, genocide, gang violence, war, domestic abuse. The 14 artists in this show find deeply personal ways to interpret our tragic propensity to harm one another, while positing ways art can help light a path beyond it. Boris Bally’s Brave 3 necklace, for example, made with 100 triggers salvaged from a gun buy-back program, evokes the talismanic bear-claw necklaces worn by Native Americans to transfer the power of the animal’s disabled defenses to the wearer. In her wall sculpture Implosion 1, Beth Barron uses found Band-Aids and red thread to probe the process of healing.

TX / Houston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection
Feb. 23 – May 26
This is the first major exhibition of works gathered by prominent craft collectors and advocates Melvin and Leatrice Eagle, the latter a past ACC board of trustees chair. Beginning in 1960, the Eagles acquired works by some of the 20th century’s most innovative and accomplished artists (Richard Marquis, Peter Voulkos, and Wendell Castle, to name a few). In 2010, the Eagles decided to give their collection a wider audience, and donated it to the MFAH; about 90 objects by 50 artists are on view here.

VT / Shelburne
Shelburne Museum
John Bisbee: New Blooms
to May 26
How does John Bisbee’s garden grow? With spikes and nails and a lot of sheer inventiveness. The Maine sculptor turns stalwart metal fasteners into works that often appear delicate; this show of floral-themed pieces includes a field of steel flowers. The Shelburne Museum itself is a quirky work of art, with 38 exhibition buildings that house everything from paintings to whirligigs. Twenty-five are historic structures moved from elsewhere in New England and New York – barns, houses, a schoolhouse, a lighthouse, even a covered bridge and a steamboat – beloved by warm-weather visitors. And with the opening last year of the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, the Shelburne is now a year-round destination.

WI / Racine
Racine Art Museum
Collection Focus: Sergei Isupov
Feb. 23 – Jun. 8
Are the objects in this mid-career retrospective paintings or sculptures, or both? The Russian-born Isupov’s people and animals, elaborately rendered on the smooth surfaces of his ceramic forms, seem to belong to a half-dream world, silently acting out narratives that may be specific or universal. (For a look at the artist’s unusual home, see “The Personal Is Professional,” Feb./Mar. 2013.)