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Shows to See: June/July 2017

Shows to See: June/July 2017

Shows to See: June/July 2017

June/July 2017 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Tom Shields Chairs

Tom Shields at Blue Spiral I 

Courtesy of Kohler Co.

Smashing Glass: The gleaming edge of virtuosity is on spectacular view this summer in Arkansas, California, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

AR / Bentonville
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest
Jun. 3 – Aug. 14 (gallery and forest); Aug. 16 – Nov. 13 (forest only) 
Dale Chihuly transforms the inner and outer spaces of the museum into a glass wonderland with about 100 pieces, from slumped baskets to large installations. Some are classics, others new work. The gallery show ends in August, but the works in the woods shine on well into the fall. 

CA / Fresno
Fresno Art Museum
Nancy Youdelman: Fashioning a Feminist Vision, 1972 to 2017
May 20 – Aug. 27
In this retrospective of 56 assemblages and installations spanning feminist pioneer Nancy Youdelman’s career, the artist considers themes such as societal notions of beauty, the significance of the mundane tasks traditionally assigned to women, and the roles of nurturer and provider. 

CA / Los Angeles
Craft & Folk Art Museum
Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean
to Aug. 20
In her five-decade career, Betye Saar, who turns 91 on July 30, has probed racism, sexism, spirituality, and memory in prints, installations, and assemblages of found objects. Since the 1990s, she has been using antique washboards as bases for works that challenge historical and persistent stereotypes about “docile” African American women who toiled under harsh conditions for white families. In Saar’s washboards – 18 on view here – these women have power and voices. 

CA / Los Angeles
Craft in America Center
Kazuki Takizawa: Catharsis Contained
to Jul. 8
Kazuki Takizawa’s blown and shaped glass vessels are purposely flawed metaphorical containers. In 20 pieces that riff on Venetian glass conventions, the artist uses the material’s strength and fragility to explore and define the realm of overwhelming emotions.

IA / Des Moines
Des Moines Art Center
Jun. 3 – Sep. 3
Nine contemporary artists and an artists’ collective express dread, tension, unrest, and loss, among other uncomfortable feelings, in works that are punctured, leaking, cracked, or broken. Modern life, anyone? 

MA / Duxbury
Art Complex Museum
Wood as Muse
to Sep. 3
This show is a summerlong valentine to wood, with about 50 works by 12 contemporary artists making manifest their sheer love of the material in diverse methods and styles. 

MN / Minneapolis 
Northern Clay Center
Amy Sabrina Retrospective 
to Jun. 25 
Amy Sabrina (1956 – 2013) lived and worked in rural Minnesota. There she made earthenware pots, often with handpainted images of insects, plants, or animals, that reflected her droll humor and profound love of nature. This show includes work from throughout her career, cut short by cancer. 

MO / St. Louis 
Missouri Botanical Garden
Garden of Glass: The Art of Craig Mitchell Smith 
to Aug. 13 
Craig Mitchell Smith employed fusing, texturing, slumping, and cold-working to bring to life 30 larger-than-life glass blossoms, from dandelions to orchids. The kiln-fired flowers are installed at several spots around the garden and are illuminated Thursday through Sunday. 

OH / Canton 
Canton Museum of Art 
Avatars: Relics from the Future 
to Jul. 23 
Is it a human? An animal? A building? In Gary Spinosa’s clay world, a single figure might have elements of all three, giving it a mystical, totemic quality; timeless spiritual meaning seems to take material form in the more than 50 works on view here. 

NC / Asheville 
Blue Spiral 1 
Forging Futures: Studio Craft in Western North Carolina 
Jun. 29 – Aug. 25 
Western North Carolina has long been a hub for craft makers and aficionados. Ten years ago, Blue Spiral 1 and the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design collaborated on a show that surveyed the region’s numerous major makers and its instrumental place in craft history. The present show is an update, with 25 invited artists from among the area’s best, including Elizabeth Brim, Stoney Lamar, Alex Matisse, and Rachel Meginnes. 

PA / Philadelphia 
National Liberty Museum
Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition 
Jun. 2 – Aug. 6 
This show, celebrating Pride Month and the personal freedom it represents, is billed as the nation’s first studio glass show with work created solely by artists from the LGBTQ+ community. In keeping with the spirit of the event, the works are unlimited in their range of subject, style, and method. 

TN / Memphis 
Metal Museum 
Metal in Motion 
to Aug. 27 
Ten artists created 34 objects and endowed each with a common purpose: Move it! From flying machines to a device that maximizes the nervous relief found in finger-tapping, everything on view here moves or has moving parts; viewers are invited to make the works bounce, twirl, or jiggle. 

WA / Tacoma 
Museum of Glass
Ispirazione: James Mongrain in the George R. Stroemple Collection 
to Oct. 15 
“Jimmy can make anything in glass.” So says Dale Chihuly about James Mongrain, his longtime studio assistant. The more than 100 works on view, commissioned for the stellar Stroemple studio glass collection, are proof – as if any were needed. Inspired by traditional Italian forms, Mongrain’s vessels, many graced with elegant creatures, are fantasias of imaginative detail, technical mastery, and extravagant beauty.