Art Smith: Jewelry, Jazz, and Jeté at MAD
Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m.
Join MAD for an evening of jewelry, jazz, and dance, as they celebrate the modernist jeweler Art Smith, whose work is currently on view in Jewelry Stories. Smith confronted barriers of race, sexual orientation, and class to become a successful purveyor of wearable sculpture. Among his clients were haute giltterati, such as Duke Ellington, Pearl Primus, and Lena Horne.
In honor of Smith, jazz singer Lezlie Harrison will perform a special selection of songs that embody the spirit of Smith’s work. The evening will also feature a modern dance performance by Kevin Boseman set to recordings of Art Smith’s recollections of his life and work, a screening of the Art Smith segment from our JEWELRY episode, and a conversation on Smith’s artistic inspirations and legacy.
The event is hosted and guest curated by Souleo.
Find out more about the event here.
Find tickets here.
Image: Installation of Art Smith’s 1948 brass neckpiece in Jewelry Stories
HOME / INSPIRATION Exhibits
As the longest Winter night in the Northern hemisphere approaches, Craft in America warmly invites you to our new exhibition from December 10, 2022 – March 11, 2023.
This dynamic show features woven and embroidered textiles, ceramics, woodwork, found object architecture, and intergenerational talent from Anishinaabe knowledge holders, Hmong matriarchs, woodworking folk schools, rogue architects, and more.
View a sneak peek of this exhibition featuring work from our latest Craft In America episodes (linked here): HOME / INSPIRATION. Stay tuned for upcoming events and Artist-run workshops we’ll be offering in the new year!
Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories
November 17, 2022–March 12, 2023
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90049
Discover the extraordinary human stories behind five centuries of quilts. Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories features works by more than forty artists, including Harriet Powers, Bisa Butler, and Sanford Biggers. Come celebrate the artistry and vision of a diverse and largely under-recognized group of creators in an exhibition that brings to light stories that enrich, deepen, and complicate our understanding of the American experience.
Fabric of a Nation illuminates the unique capacity quilts have to tell stories and convey a sense of humanity. Whether produced as works of art or utilitarian objects, their tactile, intricate mode of creation and traditional use in the home impart deeply personal narratives of their makers and offer an intimate picture of American life. Originally organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Skirball’s presentation will feature additional works by Los Angeles artists Sabrina Gschwandtner, Ramsess, and Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, as well as a quilt from its own collection highlighting key moments in American Jewish history.
For more information, visit skirball.org/exhibitions/fabric-nation-american-quilt-stories
de la Torre Brothers Retrospective Exhibition
Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective
June 18, 2022–January 22, 2023
This exhibition is a retrospective exhibition of work spanning almost three decades by Einar and Jamex de la Torre at The Cheech, in Riverside, California. Their unique work is based on their Mexican-American bi-cultural experiences, using a combination of glass, found objects, mixed media, and critical thinking. To learn more, visit riversideartmuseum.org/exhibits/collidoscope-de-la-torre-brothers-retro-perspective.
The de la Torre brothers were featured in the Pilchuck Glass School segment in the COMMUNITY episode.
Chihuly in The Desert: A Two-Part Exhibition Debuts in Phoenix and Scottsdale
Dale Chihuly, the American artist renowned for revolutionizing the studio glass movement, currently has a new exhibition, Chihuly in The Desert, in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. The two-part exhibition takes place at Desert Botanical Garden and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chihuly’s installations harmonize with the beauty and diversity of the environment, showcasing a remarkable confluence of American art and architecture set amid the magnificent backdrop of the Sonoran Desert. Spanning across two iconic Arizona locations, the installations are featured across multiple settings – inside the buildings, on the lawns, in the water, and emerging from the desert itself. The exhibition features new works being shown for the first time and is on view to the public through June 19, 2022.
“I’m thrilled to share my work with visitors of these iconic locations,” said Dale Chihuly. “Returning to Desert Botanical Garden and presenting my work for the first time at Taliesin West is a special moment for me and I hope those who see the exhibition will experience something beautiful and unexpected.”
Dale Chihuly is known for ambitious architectural installations in cities, museums, and gardens around the world. He utilizes a variety of media to realize his creative vision, including glass, paint, charcoal, neon, ice, and Polyvitro.
Watch the Pilchuck Glass school segment of the Craft in America COMMUNITY episode.
Piñata Memory Project
What is your most vivid piñata memory? Whether it is breaking one at a birthday party or picking one out in the piñata district, we invite you to share your piñata memories and photos with us. Come to the Craft in America Center to add your memory to our community piñata, or send us an email with your piñata story and/or photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, age, and where you are from.
When I was little we lived in a little town north of Denton Texas. We lived on a dairy farm and didn’t even have a bathtub in our tiny house. My mom wanted me to have a special birthday since it was in December- so she bought a piñata for me! It was so cool and special and shaped like a bear with green fringe. At my party, my friends and I hit it and hit it and hit it but it wouldn’t break open. So we tore it open and it was only filled with newspaper. My mom thought it was already filled with candy and prizes because it was so expensive for us. We still laugh about that to this day. It was still a great party and I still love piñatas!
Kati Odom, Kansas City MO, Age 55
Tios standing in the roof pulling the piñata rope! from @jen.mar10 from Instagram
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts presents Victoria Findlay Wolfe retrospective
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts presents Victoria Findlay Wolfe: Now & Then, Playing with Purpose, a retrospective of quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe on view from September 2 to December 5, 2021. This retrospective presents Wolfe’s quilts and the stories behind them, from her first quilt through her most contemporary creation, including fourteen new works made during quarantine, which have not been exhibited before.
This exhibition is enriched by an illustrated catalog as well as Wolfe’s segment from the QUILTS episode. For more information, visit www.wiquiltmuseum.com.
Kay Sekimachi: Geometries
Kay Sekimachi: Geometries is an exhibition that includes more than 50 objects that highlight the artist’s material and formal innovations across her career. On view from May 28–October 24, 2021 at the BAMPFA (UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive).
Executive Director Carol Sauvion visited the exhibition accompanied by artist Kay Sekimachi and Forrest Merrill, friend and collector. Sauvion wrote this about the exhibition.
The Geometries exhibition is a visual feast. Kay’s elaborate monofilament hangings and tubular card weavings are prominently displayed in the center of the spacious gallery to welcome, amaze and involve the visitor. We immediately understand that the pieces on display are not mere weavings. They are a magnificent tour de force by one of the most inventive and creative fiber artists of our time.
As Kay and I examined each series of her work displayed in vitrines wrapped around the walls of the exhibition, she discussed her processes for each grouping. Her small scale rectilinear boxes start out as two dimensional weavings which she then transforms into three dimensional objects, ingenious in their design and construction. She uses heat to transfer patterns onto the warp of her hand woven, folded linen books, Wave and 100 Views of Mt. Fuji. The informative gallery guide that accompanies the exhibition states that these accordion shaped structures are ideally held in the hand as one would hold a book. I wished I could hold those precious objects! I enjoyed hearing Kay discuss her Kiriwood series, wood and paper forms that reminded me of extravagant architecture. Perhaps the quietest pieces in the exhibition are small weavings in homage to Paul Klee and Agnes Martin, proving the artist’s strong identification with these 20th century masters. Kay has employed the craft of weaving to make art.
At lunch with Kay Sekimachi and Forrest Merrill after our tour of the exhibition, I was reminded by our conversation that craft is about more than objects. Craft is a community that represents, in its work and its philosophy, the best of our culture. My thanks to Kay Sekimachi and Forrest Merrill for their contributions to this community.
Geometries will be on exhibit at the Berkeley Museum until October 24th, 2021. If you have plans to go to northern California in the next weeks, a visit to Geometrics is a must.
For more information about the exhibition: bampfa.org/program/virtual/kay-sekimachi-geometries
Pioneering Women in Craft Exhibitions in 2018
In serendipity with Women’s History Month, The Craft in America Center is celebrating the contributions of pioneering women in craft with a line-up of exhibitions for 2018. Craft in America is dedicated to promoting the finest handmade artworks in the United States, and through our exhibition schedule, we will be presenting work by a slew of female artists that redefined materials, techniques, and conceptual expression. Women have always played an integral role in the development of studio crafts. Throughout history, crafts have traditionally been linked with and indicative of gendered roles and domesticity, which has no doubt informed the evolution of crafts as an artistic movement. Although female artists have been at the forefront of the craft dialogue as makers and theoreticians and instrumental in the establishment of craft organizations and institutions, their contributions have frequently been overshadowed by those of their male counterparts. “When we began programming for the next two years, we didn’t realize just how many luminary female artists we would be activating.” The exhibition calendar evolved organically and it just so happened that most of the artists we had selected for programming are female. Gender was not a determining factor in terms of selecting the exhibitions, but when we stepped back and looked at our schedule, they happened to mostly be women. Our programming began with our exhibition, Circuitry, which featured the beaded, politically-charged necklaces of 2016 MacArthur “Genius” recipient Joyce J. Scott along with selected works by her proteges and peers including Sonya Clark.
Joyce J. Scott
Scott is one of the first artists to use beads in a fine art practice. She consistently depicts the struggles of Black Americans in the U.S. through wearable and sculptural work. Scott has given form to painful topics such as rape, toxic masculinity, and racism. Our current exhibition charts the influence she has had on others as well.
The Circuitry of Joyce J. Scott:
A Group Exhibition of Collaboration and Innovation
February 24 – April 14, 2018
Artist Sonya Clark redefined the use of actual hair and thread-as-hair in artwork to depict the challenges and “otherness” of being Black. Since 2015, Clark has been unweaving Confederate Battle flags in a series titled Unraveling. One of the unraveled flags is currently on view at the Center.
The Circuitry of Joyce J. Scott:
A Group Exhibition of Collaboration and Innovation
February 24 – April 14, 2018
Little’s roots lie in furniture design, as one of few women in the field when she began her practice in 1980s. Little was an innovator in postmodernist furniture in the UK. When she relocated to Los Angeles in 2014, she shifted her focus from upholstered furniture to the upholstery, itself, with a series of wall hangings that have since become her entire focus.
Mary Little: The Shape of Cloth
April 21 – June 2, 2018
Fisch will go down in history as the first artist to use metallic wire with the methods of textiles. At a time when few, if no other, women were working with metals in the art world, Fisch revolutionized the material. She transcended the rigidity of wire by shaping it into organic, rounded forms.
Arline Fisch: Aquatic Bloom
June 9 – August 4, 2018
Slemmons draws on historical, cultural, and literary references while redefining decorative and historic traditions. She frequently approaches her works with the spirit of an assemblage painter, throwing into the mix various handcrafted components combined with manipulated found objects that illustrate deep meaning and poeticism.
Kiff Slemmons: Collective Presence
August 11 – October 6, 2018
In the 1960s, Weir-Quiton was one of the few females in the woodshop at CSUN. She wanted to put her stamp on woodwork and decided, instead of making a bowl, she would make a chic wooden mod-girl. Since making that initial doll and subsequent giant “dolls,” she has incorporated that aesthetic and the idea of FUNctionality. She has reminded adults and children alike how important it is to play.
Made to Play: A Retrospective of Wood by Pamela Weir-Quiton
October 13 – December 1, 2018
The Circuitry of Joyce J. Scott Opening
This past Saturday, we had the pleasure of hosting the opening for The Circuitry of Joyce J. Scott: A Group Exhibition of Collaboration and Innovation at the Center.
Artist William Rhodes was in attendance and able to explain his works in depth to people that asked. He spoke about his piece House of Ibeji in depth and told us how his father was born with a twin that didn’t survive. In the work, he imagines a past where he did.
Rhodes was such a fantastic addition for the evening as he explained how he knew each of the artists. He grew up with Shana Kroiz. Both he and Kroiz knew Joyce J. Scott at a young age, and it was because of her tutelage, that they decided to become artists.
The Circuitry of Joyce J. Scott is open through April 14 at the Craft in America Center.