Editor's note: The Mingei International Museum provided source material to Resource Library for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Mingei International Museum directly through either this phone number or web address:
Craft in America: Expanding Traditions
October 20, 2007 - January 27, 2008
Mingei International Museum is presenting the landmark, nationally touring exhibition, Craft in America: Expanding Traditions, at its Balboa Park museum from October 20, 2007 through January 27, 2008.
Exploring the vitality, history and significance of the handmade in the United States and demonstrating its impact on our nation's cultural heritage, Craft in America is a 200-year historical survey that features nearly 200 works. The touring exhibition includes objects from Mingei International's own collection, and, while in San Diego, is augmented with selected objects from the Museum's substantial collection of contemporary American craft.
Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the exhibition explores the many cultures and movements that have contributed to the development and refinement of American crafts during the last two centuries -- furniture, ceramics, fiber and textiles, basketry, glass, wood, jewelry and metal. On view are objects by traditional craft makers, designer craftsmen of the Arts & Crafts Movement, the artists of the WPA programs, post World-War II studio craft pioneers and contemporary studio craft artists.
Conceived more than 10 years ago by potter Carol Sauvion, connoisseur and owner of Freehand Gallery in Los Angeles, Craft in America is a multifaceted project that includes a three-part PBS television series "Craft in America - Memory, Landscape, Community." First aired on May 30, 2007 the television series was rebroadcast by KPBS, the Museum's media partner for Craft in America, on three Thursday evenings October 11, 18 and 25, 2007 in conjunction with the exhibition.
"The idea to make the Craft in America television series came to me after a cross-country trip in 1996 when I took my son Noah on a tour of baseball parks and used the occasion to visit craft artists and special craft locations throughout the United States," says Carol. "We learned a lot about the handmade, which seemed to be hiding in plain sight wherever we went."
Whether our eyes are those of sophisticated appreciators or just casual observers, we are likely unaware of the many ways that craft and design touch our lives. " Craft, both historical and contemporary, is all around us," says President Jimmy Carter in his prologue to the exhibition's companion book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects. Carter continues, "For me craft recognizes and communicates so much about what we are as a country. It is our identity and our legacy." The book, by Exhibition Curator Jo Lauria and writer Steve Fenton, will be available in The Collectors' Gallery, Mingei International's museum store.
Craft in America: Expanding Traditions is organized by Craft in America, Inc., Los Angeles, chief curator Jo Lauria; and Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions (CATE), Pasadena, California. This exhibition tour is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.
In November, 2007 Denise Kang of Craft In America provided to Resource Library further information on the exhibition:
About the museum
Mingei International Museum reveals the beauty of use in folk art, craft and design from all eras and cultures of the world. The word mingei, meaning 'art of the people,' was coined by the revered Japanese scholar Dr. Sôetsu Yanagi by combining the Japanese words for all people (min) and art (gei). Yanagi's teachings awakened people to the essential need to make and use objects that are unfragmented expressions of head, heart and hands.
Established in 1978, Mingei International Museum collects, conserves and exhibits these arts of daily use -- by anonymous craftsmen of ancient times, from traditional cultures of past and present and by historical and contemporary designers.
Mingei International's museums in Balboa Park, San Diego and in Downtown Escondido, California open a window on the great world, revealing similarities and distinctions of individuals and cultures in art of the people, and inspiring people to express their own innate creativity.
-- above museum description excerpted from the museum's website
Mingei International Museum is funded in part by The City
of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and The County of San Diego
Community Enhancement Program and the Community Projects Fund. The museum
is located at 1439 El Prado in Balboa Park in San Diego and in Downtown
Escondido at 155 West Grand Avenue. Please see the museum's website for
hours and admission fees.
Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:
and also from the Web:
Craft In America, a non-profit organization with a mission to promote and advance original handcrafted work, through educational programs in all media, presents here a virtual exhibition of objects in the multi-city, multi-year tour of Craft in America: Expanding Traditions. An online video of a portion of the television series is shown here.
and this video:
Craft in America. This 2007 DVD from PBS Home Video includes three 1-hour episodes: "Memory," "Landscape," and "Community," shown in widescreen (16x9 aspect ratio). 180 minutes on 1 disc. PBS says: "This program explores the history and significance of the craft movement in the United States and its impact on the nation's cultural heritage. "Memory" focuses on the historical relevance of craft through the eyes of several contemporary pioneers in the field. "Landscape" examines the interdependent relationship of craft artists to their media and the natural world. "Community," highlights the social and emotional connections that crafts embody."
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