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On April 28, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) unveils a major exhibition examining the contributions and the legacy of women working in the applied arts during the mid 20th century, a time when curatorial attention and prestige were lavished on
 their male counterparts and those working in the fine arts. Installed on two floors of the museum, “Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today” showcases works by three dozen artists associated with craft centers such as the Bauhaus in Germany and later, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

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Revered as the “Dean of American Craftsmen,” Wharton Harris Esherick played a pivotal role in establishing the American Studio Furniture Movement. A visionary in the truest sense, Esherick was the first craftsman to approach furniture as sculpture -- a notion that influenced an entire generation of designer-craftsmen, including Arthur Espenet Carpenter, Sam Maloof, and Wendell Castle (read more about Wendell Castle and his latest work).

A trained painter and printmaker, Esherick’s fascination with wood began in 1920, when he started carving designs on the frames for his paintings. Soon, he was carving woodcuts and crafting sinuous organic sculptures, furniture, and architectural interiors...

Continue reading this article about Wharton Harris Esherick at Moderne Gallery on

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How would a guy make a quilt?" Joel Otterson asked himself when he began his foray into the craft. "He would make it out of concrete and stone," he answered. And so he did.

Otterson's "quilts" consist of interlinking blocks of concrete, stone and ceramics that are meant to be walked and danced on rather than slept under. One is 19 by 22 feet and made from six tons of concrete and 500 dinner plates cut into 4,000 pieces. There's even a "crazy quilt" made from the scraps of his concrete projects.

Otterson is one of eight artists involved in "Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters," opening Jan. 25 at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and curated by CAFAM Executive Director Suzanne Isken.

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Pier Sixty was at least a bit calmer last night than the name of the evening’s main event would suggest. The MAD Gala was a lively scene, but more notable for the refinement of its revelers than any chaotic debauchery on their behalf.

But that’s fitting, after all, since the Museum of Arts and Design has recently sought to bring a more cohesive unity to the two wide-ranging charges to which the institution owes its name. Director Glenn Adamson, who has now been with the institution for just over a year, has worked to bridge the arts and design elements of MAD’s programming with a renewed focus on craft, and craftspeople. One need look no further than the museum’s current survey of emerging designers and craftspeople from Latin America to find his vision put in place.

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The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York is celebrating the legacy of its founder Aileen Osborn Webb with the exhibition “What Would Mrs. Webb Do? A Founder’s Vision.” Featuring a variety of objects created over the past sixty years, the show highlights Webb’s advocacy of American craft and explores how she championed the skilled maker as integral to America’s future.

A patron and philanthropist, Webb pioneered an understanding of craftsmanship and the handmade as a creative driving force behind art and design. In addition to founding MAD (originally the Museum of Contemporary Crafts) in 1956, Webb helped launch a number of crafts-related institutions, including the American Craft Council, the School of American Craftsmen, and the World Crafts Council.

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Monday, 29 September 2014 13:39

Turner Prize Exhibition Opens at Tate Britain

Visitors to this year's Turner Prize 2014 exhibition will find themselves spending much of their time watching films in semi-darkness. The show, unveiled at Tate Britain on Monday, features several film works - and slide shows projected onto walls.

This year's artist nominees are Duncan Campbell, Ciara Phillips, James Richards and Tris Vonna-Michell. Between them, they employ audio, video, craft and design - but there is no use of traditional painting or sculpture.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014 12:09

A Look at Today’s Glass Art Market

There was a time when glass was a craft. But in recent years it has become something more: an established art form, and an attractive—and affordable—investment.

"Art glass is a great way to begin collecting art because there is so much available at so many price points," says Carina Villinger, head of 20th century decorative art and design at Christie's.

Since the launch of the Studio Glass movement in the 1960s, glass has slowly crossed the species barrier from craft to fine art. Today, examples of glass art include bright colors and arresting shapes, works that resemble paintings in glass, and objects both strange and familiar encased in glass.

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If you've ever been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you know that furniture was our first art, the one in which North American makers produced work that competed in craft and originality with any in the world. David Ebner, born in 1945, places himself in this tradition when he speaks of the 1,300 or so pieces he has made in his career as "antiques of the future."

Not Ikea, in other words.

The 60 works in "David N. Ebner: 50 Years of Studio Furniture," at Moderne Gallery through Aug. 31, span his entire career, from student days until now.

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Friday, 13 September 2013 17:05

Museum of Arts and Design Appoints New Director

The Museum of Arts and Design in New York has appointed Dr. Glenn Adamson as the new Nanette L. Laitman Director. Adamson, who previously worked at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, will succeed Holly Hotchner, who stepped down at the end of April. Adamson will assume his role at the Museum of Arts and Design on October 15, 2013.

Adamson helmed the V&A’s Research Department, which oversees, evaluates and supports the development of museum projects. In this role, Adamson helped bring major exhibitions to fruition, managed partnerships with other institutions and led academic fundraising. He also contributed to the museum’s publications, educational programs, media outreach and commercial activities. Before joining the V&A in 2005, Adamson served as Curator for the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which collects and promotes research within the field of decorative arts.  

An advocate for the reconsideration of craft as an inescapable cultural force rather than an unassuming art classification, Adamson has had a profound effect on makers as well as craft historians and theorists. He has published a number of books on the subject and is founding co-editor of the academic, peer-reviewed Journal of Modern Craft.

Adamson said, “I am honored to have been selected to serve as the next director of MAD…I look forward to building on the museum’s recent successes and to working with the museum’s visionary board and senior leadership to enhance and extend MAD’s potential.”

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The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. has announced that its Renwick Gallery, which houses the museum’s American craft and decorative arts collection from the 19th to 21st centuries, will undergo a major renovation. The Renwick Gallery, which opened to the public in 1972, will close to accommodate the project in early 2014 and is expected to reopen in 2016.

Project details are still being worked out and an exact cost for the renovations is yet to be determined. The Smithsonian is planning to use public funds to pay for half of the project and the rest will be paid through private partnerships. The project has already received a $335,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures initiative, as the Renwick Gallery is located in a National Historic Landmark building. The building’s construction began in 1859 and went on to house the city’s first art museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, upon its completion.

Museum officials plan to convert all of the Renwick Gallery’s lighting to energy efficient LED lights and wireless Internet access will be provided throughout the entire gallery. Heating, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, and fire safety systems will all be gutted and replaced. This will be the Renwick Gallery’s first renovation in 40 years.

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