Tributes and Goings-On

Tributes and Goings-On


Stephen Beal The Periodic Table of the Artist’s Colors. This work was a unanimous acceptance by the acquisitions committee of the Museum of Arts and Design. Photo/Joe Coca.

Gifts and Grants
Toshiko Takaezu has given the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, 17 of her ceramic vessels, on view there through July 12...Arizona State University's Ceramics Research Center has received a $180,000 grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation for a Karen Karnes retrospective in 2010...The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami Beach, a museum, library and research center dedicated to art and design, has received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In Public
For a new public art project at the Sava Pool in San Francisco, Catherine Wagner photo- graphed the swirling waves made by a swimmer and reproduced the images on porcelain enamel panels, now installed on a wall overlooking the pool. Their deep blue color echoes that of custom-made Heath ceramic tiles on adjacent walls...To mark its 130th anniversary, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh commissioned for its campus an outdoor sculpture by Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett, founders of the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Called The Spirit of Duquesne, the seven-foot-tall work is made of glass and steel, a nod to the region's industrial heritage.

Capital Honors
Collectors converge on Washington, DC, April 22-26 for CraftWeek DC, presented by the James Renwick Alliance and the Smithsonian Women's Committee. Highlights include the Smithsonian Craft Show and the alliance's annual Spring Craft Weekend, featuring a symposium with Master of the Medium honorees David Ellsworth, Warren MacKenzie, Norma Minkowitz, Richard Marquis and June Schwarcz. Lloyd Herman, founding director of the Renwick Gallery, will also be honored.

On the Move
A fixture on the Atlanta art scene since 1984, the Vespermann Glass Gallery has a new name- Vespermann-Cooper Galleries -and a new home, at 764 Miami Circle, where founder Seranda Vespermann and her business partner, Jeannie Cooper, offer paintings along with glass art.

In Remembrance
Kurt Matzdorf, founder of the highly regarded metals program at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and a master metalsmith renowned for his ceremonial objects-maces, medallions, Judaica-died December 20 at the age of 86. Born in Germany, Matzdorf began teaching at suny New Paltz in 1957, retiring as professor emeritus in 1985. "Kurt Matzdorf was a man of unwavering certainty and determination," Jamie Bennett and Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, currently metals professors there, wrote in a statement. "His vision and passion for the world of jewelry and silversmithing set a standard for this program and the profession. He championed an understanding of the practice through a thorough grounding in the history of jewelry and metal, with an eye to the future." Matzdorf was the recipientof many honors, including induction into the American Craft Council College of Fellows (1992) and the Society of North American Goldsmiths Lifetime Achievement Award (2006)...*Mildred Constantine*, an authority on art and design who brought new stature to contemporary textiles, graphic art and other underrecognized forms, died December 10 at her home in Nyack, New York. She was 95. As a curator in the architecture and design department at the Museum of Modern Art from 1943 to 1970, she was responsible for many groundbreaking shows, including "The Object Transformed" (1966), "Word and Image" (1968) and "Wall Hangings" (1969). Constantine later coauthored, with Jack Lenor Larsen, two classic books on the new textile art movement, Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric (1973), and The Art Fabric: Mainstream (1981). She and Larsen also organized the exhibitions "Frontiers in Fiber Art: The Americans" (1988) and "Small Works in Fiber" (2002). "What distinguishes any art from a craft is why, not how, it is done," Constantine remarked in 1992, on the occasion of her designation as an Honorary American Craft Council Fellow. "It is the privilege of art to join the rational and
the magical."

Because he was recovering from disc surgery, the embroiderer Stephen Beal couldn't travel from his home in Colorado to Honolulu in December for the 11th biennial symposium of the Textile Society of America, where he was honored with the 2008 Lillian Elliott Award. He sent a message instead, in which he spoke of his love for color ("the prime motivator in my work" as in The Periodic Table of the Artist's Colors), and how the written word-Gertrude Stein, Flaubert, his own poetry-inspires his needlework. Created in memory of fiber artists Elliott and Joanne Segal Brandford, the prize is given every two years to an emerging or mid-career artist who is "taking risks and exploring new visual ideas."