University of Michigan Museum of Art

Ann Arbor, MI



The White House Collection of American Crafts

July 1 - October 22, 2000


The first official White House crafts collection is a tribute to the ongoing tradition of craftmaking in our country. This exhibition features the work of over seventy of America's leading craft artists - -many recognized masters in their fields, others among the emerging generation -- all of whom express themselves in objects of startling beauty and originality.

Encompassing the mediums of glass, ceramic, metal, wood, and fiber, the works that will be at the Museum this summer celebrate the inventiveness and creative spirit of American craftspeople and represent the richness and diversity of our country's longstanding craft heritage.

The White House is a symbol of American history and of American ideals and aspirations, It is also the most frequently toured home in the country. As such, it is an important repository for fine works of art in many media and many traditions. Its collections include paintings and sculptures exploring American themes; landscapes, and portraits; antique furniture and decorative arts; and historical memorabilia.

A Joint Resolution of Congress and Presidential Proclamation named 1993 The Year of American Craft and the White House Collection was assembled in that year, under the guidance of Michael Monroe, then Curator-in-Charge of the Smithsonian American Art Museum' s Renwick Gallery. The Museum of Art is the first venue to receive the exhibition. (left: Ralph Bacerra; Teapot, 1992, earthenware, slip cast, chrome red glaze, overglaze enamels, luster)

The collection does not pretend to be an exhaustive survey of all facets of contemporary American craftmaking; rather, objects were chosen to reflect the architecture, historical settings, and furnishings of the White House and to represent all craft media. The exhibition is a feast of color and form. Of note are a magnificent cerulean blue blown glass bowl by Dale Chihuly; a whimsical, red teapot by Ralph Bacerra; Ken Carlson's spiky, green copper Porcupine Basket; and Zachary Oxman's sculpted bronze menorah in which dancing men hold the candles aloft.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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