AUBURN, Ala. – Following a spectacular debut at the acclaimed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, Crafting America opened at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University on June 29 and will continue through September 12.
The new exhibition, organized by the Crystal Bridges Museum, celebrates the skill and individuality of craft within the broad context of American art — from jewelry to furniture to sculptures and more. While many works are from the organizing museum, several others are loans from private collections and major institutions such as The National Museum of the American Indian and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA.
Featuring 90 works in ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass and more unexpected materials, Crafting America presents a diverse and inclusive story of American craft from the 1940s to today. Esteemed artists include Sonya Clark, Beatrice Wood, Shan Goshorn, Nick Cave and Maria Martinez.
“The artists featured in Crafting America explore through their creativity what can often be complicated notions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for those who struggled to achieve or were denied those civil rights,” said Cindi Malinick, director and chief curator of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. “And the opportunity to partner with Crystal Bridges, one of the nation’s leading museums, and open a campus dialog through art about our similarities and differences and where those perspectives intersect to foster understanding, is an honor. It is important viewing for our times.”
Craft has long been a realm accessible to the broadest range of individuals, providing an opportunity to explore personal creativity, innovation and technical skill. This exhibition foregrounds varied backgrounds and perspectives in craft, from the vital contributions of indigenous artists to the new skills and points of view brought by women and immigrants to the United States.
“Craft is relevant,” Malinick said. “You likely have a craft object with a personal connection — an heirloom quilt or a well-loved piece of handmade furniture. Along with images of these treasures, we will include their stories from students, alumni, donors and visitors in an interactive gallery space and as a digital feature, Share Your Craft Story.”
Major works from Auburn’s collection complement the loaned objects, featuring artists Jiha Moon and Yamada Kensuke.
Visit the website for the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University, and see its dedicated page for Crafting America.