Craft Happenings: Spring 2022

Craft Happenings: Spring 2022

Published on Thursday, February 17, 2022.
dome shaped ceramic shelter with hands prying open the door from the inside

As featued in Memento Mori: Marisa Finos, Vessel IV (detail), 2015, performance, clay, sound, 34 x 68 x 70 in. Photo Credit: Janelle Proulx.

The craft field is flourishing this spring with new exhibitions, exciting conversations, and more. Here are 29 events happening across the country for you to explore. To help you fill out your calendar, the events are organized by start date.

January Start

1. Monumental Works
KANEKO, Omaha, Nebraska
January 15–March 12, 2022

Organized in partnership with the International Sculpture Center, this show of internationally recognized sculptural works executed on a monumental scale includes pieces by a dozen artists, including giant ceramics by Jun Kaneko, the venue’s founder.

ceramic sculptures of conical face masks that are blue and etched with roads and other symbols

As featured in Limitless: Tammie Rubin, Always & Forever (forever, ever) No. 12 Badges (detail), 2021, pigmented porcelain, underglaze. Photo by Tammie Rubin.

2. Limitless: The 2021 Recipients of ClayHouston’s Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, Texas
January 15–March 5, 2022

Award winners Jihye Han, Tammie Rubin, and Earnest Snell display their virtuosity in works that range from the witty to the gritty. The artists were selected by a panel made up of ceramic-art notables Natalia Arbelaez, Adam Chau, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, and Roberto Lugo.

3. Rings! 1968–2021
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, Texas
January 22–March 12, 2022

A show of wearable art that explores the creative potential of the ring and its place in the avant-garde of contemporary jewelry-making. Pulled from the extensive collection of author and craft advocate Helen Drutt, the exhibition highlights both experimental and traditional metalsmithing on a small scale.

4. Nothing Goes to Waste
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, Texas
January 29–May 7, 2022

Reuse and repurpose are the hallmarks of this survey of artists who fashion works from ceramic shards, cut paper, marble remnants, and other discards—a demonstration of how salvaged materials can inspire both bold creativity and environmental responsibility.

5. A Contemporary Black Matriarchal Lineage in Printmaking
Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, New York
January 29–March 19, 2022

Tanekeya Word, Delita Martin, LaToya Hobbs, Lisa Hunt, Ann Johnson, Karen J Revis, Chloe Alexander, Sam Vernon, and Stephanie Santana are the artistic matriarchs in this nationally focused exhibition of prints. Word writes: “In an improvisational style, each printmaker shares matriarchal perspectives on Black interiority."

teal black and yellow weaving depicting a catfish

Diedrick Brackens, water and dreams, 2021. Cotton and acrylic yarn. 40 x 40 inches. © Diedrick Brackens. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Seoul.

6. Diedrick Brackens: heaven is a muddy riverbed
Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, California
January 30–May 8, 2022

Weaving and poetry come together as two modes Brackens uses to explore the catfish—a potent symbol of physical nourishment, spiritual connection, and self-reflection for the artist, as well as a messenger from ancestral realms to the present.

7. Jaishri Abichandani: Flower-Headed Children
Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, California
January 30–May 8, 2022

This show surveys the 25-year career of Abichandani, who uses craft materials to reconceive and repurpose traditional South Asian devotional figures. The new “divinities” embody contemporary concerns: anti-racism, feminism, queer consciousness, and politically radical goals. 

February Start

8. The New Bend
Hauser & Wirth, New York, New York
February 3–April 2, 2022

This gathering of twelve contemporary African American practitioners of quilting and other textile arts is, according to the gallery, in “tender dialogue with, and homage to” the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The show echoes and extends the practice of those women, whose work has expanded our sense of contemporary abstraction.

9. Scents and Fragrances
Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, California
February 5–June 5, 2022

A wide-ranging exploration of the rapidly developing world of olfactory art and design, Scents and Fragrances presents a collection of finely crafted objects that give off alluring scents—“creative and artful interfaces,” according to organizers, “to deliver scents with manifold design outcomes, from the hedonic to the functional.” 

10. Kuumba Connections: Quilts by Contemporary African American Artists
Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, Ohio
February 6–April 3, 2022

Nine Black Ohio artists formed the Kuumba quilters’ group to share ideas and skills during the height of the pandemic. This exhibition displays the results: colorful, powerful quilts that tell stories.

sculpture of a doctors bag made from porcelain

As featured in Fool the Eye: Paul Dresang, Untitled (Doctor’s Bag II), ca. 2005, glazed porcelain with lustres, 6.5 x 16.25 x 11 in. Racine Art Museum, Gift of David and Jacqueline Charak.

11. Fool the Eye: Addressing Illusion in Contemporary Art
Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
February 9–September 24, 2022

Twenty-five contemporary artists who continue the venerable artistic tradition of trompe-l’oeil (“fool-the-eye”) present their work, with ceramics prominent. Tricks range from Paul Dresang’s “leather” doctor’s bag (glazed porcelain) to Wen Xia and Jian Xian Lu’s “bamboo” teapot (stoneware).

12. Precedents: Past Meets Present in Contemporary Glass and Clay
Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
February 9–September 24, 2022

The museum’s recent acquisition of nineteenth-century glass goblets and mid-twentieth-century ceramic vessels inspired this show, which pairs the older works with goblets by contemporary artists, tracing inspirations and affinities over time.

13. 50 Bowls in 50 Kilns in 50 States
American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California
February 12–July 24, 2022

Ceramist/journalist Elaine Henry built 50 bowls from the same clay body, shaped them the same way, and glazed them with the same formula. She then shipped them to a wood-firing ceramist in every state. The notable differences that result testify to the role of chance and artistry in the firing process.

14. Peter Callas: An Enduring Legacy
American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California
February 12–July24, 2022

Fifty works made over nearly thirty years make up this comprehensive retrospective of the work of this influential artist, one of the major studio-ceramics pioneers working with the anagama kiln. 

15. How Old Is It: Southwestern Silverwork, 1850–1940
Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
February 19–October 31, 2022

Nearly a century of Native silverwork, including rarely seen works of Navajo and Pueblo jewelry from the museum’s collection will be on display in this exhibition, which traces stylistic and technical evolution in the medium. The show also aims to contribute to a more accurate chronology of Indigenous silver craft in the Southwest.

16. Gold in America: Artistry, Memory, Power
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
February 25–July 10, 2022

The role of gold in American art and culture takes center stage here, in a show centered on objects that include early colonial betrothal and mourning rings, a Tiffany coffee service, and coins made from ore mined during the Gold Rush. Contemporary artists examine gold’s historical associations and the environmental and human costs of mining it.

quilt depicting a landscape with pink houses and water
burlap quilt depicting three figures fleeing from city in rubble

LEFT: As featured in Forced to Flee: Charlotte S. Bird, Goodbye My Village, 2018, cotton, polyester organza, hand cut, fused, hand dyed, appliquéd, machine stitched, machine quilted, hand embroidered, 48 x 32 in. RIGHT: As featured in Forced to Flee: Marie Mitchell, Walking the Refugee Road: Forced to Flee, 2017, burlap, hand dyed cotton, gauze, sheer curtain fabric, watercolor pencils, ink, bridal netting, oil sticks, fabric marker, stenciled, screen printed, painted, drawn, raw edge appliquéd, free motion stitched, 35 x 23.5 in.

17. Forced to Flee
Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California
February 26–June 19, 2022

This traveling exhibition presents 36 art quilts that relate refugee journeys. The artists, people who have been driven from their homes because of war, oppression, natural disasters, and human rights violations, tell their stories using intense techniques like raw edge appliqué, burning, mark making, and photo- and screen-printing.

March Start

18. Sarah Zapata: a resilience of things not seen
John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
March 1–August 28, 2022

Zapata’s fiberwork is rooted in pre-Hispanic Peruvian tradition, which she combines with modern carpet manufacturing techniques. In this installation, she employs color juxtapositions—neutral colors paired with bold reds and purples—in works that reflect on the fear stoked by the pandemic and political polarization.

pink and gold picture frame housing a depiction of skulls and other bones in a clay hue
clay sculpture of half of a thorax with organs coming out of it

LEFT: As featured in Memento Mori: Dirk Staschke, Structure Of An Image, 2017, ceramic, 43 x 29 x 6 in. RIGHT: As featured in Memento Mori: Arun Sharma, My Heart Swells, 2019, stoneware, 20 x 9 x 30 cm.

19. Memento Mori
Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
March 6–April 16, 2022

This four-artist exhibition is a reflection, in ceramics, on the fact of death in an era of pandemic. It ranges from Arun Sharma’s somber partial torso with human organs emerging to Dirk Staschke’s elaborate picture frame in clay, surrounding a traditional memento mori (“reminder of death”) image: an assemblage of skulls.

photograph of a person standing in a dirt road barefoot with a black veil covering their entire body

As featured in The Dirty South: RaMell Ross, Caspera, 2020, archival pigment print, 49.5 x 61.5 x 2.25 in. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, National Endowment for the Arts Fund for American Art, MC2020.56. Image credit: © RaMell Ross.

20. The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
March 12–July 25, 2022

Sculpture, paintings, works on paper, assemblage, textiles, instruments, music videos, costumes, lyrics, and musicians’ personal effects make up a massive exploration of African American musical culture in the South in the past 100 years.

textile sculpture reminiscent of a Grecian dress displayed on a wood pedestal
textile sculpture that appears to be part rug and part Grecian dress

LEFT: Marilyn Pappas, Nevertheless She Persisted II, 2018. Photo Credit: Will Howcroft. RIGHT: Marilyn Pappas, Nevertheless She Persisted III: Hygieia with Snakes, 2021. Photo Credit: Will Howcroft.

21. Marilyn Pappas: A Retrospective
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts
March 12–August 28, 2022

For six decades, Massachusetts-based textile artist Pappas has been using cloth to explore her identity, her concerns, and her passions. This comprehensive show includes her politically charged garment-based work of the 1960s, collages inspired by her travels, and large textile works depicting ancient goddesses.

22. Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Art
Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York
March 12–August 14, 2022

Described as “the first global survey exhibition dedicated to the use of clothing as a medium of visual art,” Garmenting showcases 35 contemporary artists who make or alter clothing to express a range of concerns, from the indivisibility of form and function to gender issues, cultural difference, and activism.

23. Tributaries: Becky McDonah
Metal Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
March 13–May 15, 2022

In this show, McDonah exhibits reliquaries—secular versions of the elaborate containers crafted to hold sacred relics like bone fragments from the bodies of saints. But these contemporary relic-holders enshrine quite ordinary found objects, inviting viewers to reconsider the value of the simpler things that accompany us through life.

24. Architecture for the Birds
Plains Art Museum, Fargo, North Dakota
March 16–May 12, 2022

Every year the North Dakota State University Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture challenges its students to design bird houses based on the forms typical of a Pritzker-Prize-winning architect like Frank Gehry, I. M. Pei, or Arata Isozaki. But the bird houses on show here aren’t just for show; each has to meet the nesting and use habits of a specific local bird.

25. Tools of the Trades
Online via CrafNOW Philadelphia and NextFab
March 23–25, 2022

Tools of the Trades is a first-of-its-kind event designed to provide creative entrepreneurs of all skill levels the tools they need to build their own unique roadmap to success. Attendees will have access to experts, resources, and peers working in the craft community. The conference will have programming and resources relevant to creative entrepreneurs working across the country.  

26. Guarding the Art
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
March 27–July 10, 2022

The works in this exhibition, representing a wide range of genres, materials, and periods, were curated by people who see the art on a daily basis—17 members of the museum’s diverse security staff. With the guidance of art historian and curator Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, they collaborated with staff in the BMA’s curatorial, design, education, conservation, and marketing departments.

April Start

vessel-like sculpture made from coiled black rope
vessel-like sculpture made from coiled multi-colored rope

LEFT: Ferne Jacobs, Figure/Head, 2020. Coiled and twined waxed linen thread. Photo Credit: Bernard Wolf. RIGHT: Ferne Jacobs, Floating World, 2007. Coiled waxed linen thread, 16.5" x 12" x 9". Photo Credit: Susan Einstein.

27. Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs
Craft in America, Los Angeles, California
April 2–June 18, 2022

Iconic Los Angeles artist Ferne Jacobs used techniques—knotting, coiling, and twining—traditionally used for basketry to create innovative fiber sculptures. In this exhibition, thirty works tell the story of her career, more than five decades spent developing an unrivaled mastery of materials and processes. 

28. A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi
April 9–September 11, 2022

A dozen major African American artists, including Carrie Mae Weems and Theaster Gates, contributed new work in a wide variety of media to this exploration of the Great Migration—the northward exodus between 1915 and 1970 that profoundly reshaped Black life. The works explore themes of perseverance, self-determination, and self-reliance, along with the continuing legacy of the Migration. 

29. William Underwood: Casting a Legacy
Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred University, Alfred, New York
Opening April 21, 2022 

Inspired by Buckminster Fuller and taught by Charles Eames and Peter Voulkos, William Underwood turned clay work into bronze sculptures that embody his fascination with the vessel, which he describes as “a primary form, irreducible and complete.” This show honors the long-time Alfred University teacher by displaying vessel forms he created from 1960 to 2000.

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