Lara Knutson, Soft Glass Basket, 2011, Reflective glass fabric and steel wire, Courtesy of the artist, Photo by Eugene Young, Renwick Gallery 40 Under 40: Craft Futures, Designer: Christine Philp, Palindrome Design, www.palindromedesign.net.
Gabriel Craig, Pro Bono Jeweler 2, 2008-2010, CD-R, photo by Amy Weiks.
Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine, Green Balance, 2011, Mi-Teintes watercolor paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artists in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery.
Olek, Knitting is for Pus**** (detail), mixed media and 100 percent acrylic Red Heart yarn, Courtesy of the artist, photo by Olek.
Sergey Jivetin, Poultry Accumulus Necklace, 2009, eggs, carbon fiber, gold, steel, Courtesy of the artist
and Ornamentum gallery.
Cristina Cordova, Dulce, 2011, ceramic and cut paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Judy S. Weisman in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery, Photo by Steve Mann, Renwick Gallery 40 Under 40: Craft Futures, Designer: Scott Cooke: www.scottcookedesign.com.
Sebastian Martorana, Impressions, 2008, marble, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia A. Young in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Renwick Gallery and the 30th Anniversary of the James Renwick Alliance.
Uhuru (Jason Horvath & Bill Hilgendorf), Cyclone Lounger, 2011, Reclaimed Coney Island boardwalk (Ipe), with laser cut powder coated steel base, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Bill Higendorf and Jason Horvath in memory of Cynthia Bricker Hilgendorf, Gift of Fern Bleckner in celebration of Etta B. Brown’s 95th birthday, and Gift of Shirley Jacobs in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Renwick Gallery, photo by Uhuru Design.
Gabriel Craig, Deco Ring (sample from Pro Bono Jeweler 2), 2008, polymer clay, cubic zirconia, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Lloyd E. Herman, founding director and director emeritus of
the Renwick Gallery (1971-1986) in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Renwick Gallery.
Sabrina Gschwandtner, Hula Hoop, 2010, 16mm film and polyamide thread, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chris Rifkin in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Renwick Gallery, Photo by Sabrina Gschwandtner, Renwick Gallery 40 Under 40: Craft Futures, Designer: Miriam Dillon, Barnes Vanz Architects, barnesvanze.com.
Jeffrey Clancy, Tea for One, 2002, silver, mahogany, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum, purchase made possible by the Charles and Margaret, Craver Withers Bequest.
Daniel Michalik, 3/1 Chair, 2011, recycled cork, FSC-certified ply, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Phyllis and Sidney Bresler in memory of Charles S. Bresler and in honor of Fleur Bresler, photo by Daniel Michalik.
Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.
40 under 40: Craft Futures
July 20, 2012-February 3, 2013
40 under 40: Craft Futures features the innovative work of 40 artists born since 1972, the year the Renwick Gallery was established as the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s branch for craft and decorative arts. 40 under 40 investigates evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics and metalwork, as well as in fields as varied as sculpture, industrial design, installation art, fashion design, sustainable manufacturing and mathematics.
All of the artworks selected for display in the exhibition were created since Sept. 11, 2001. This new work reflects the changed world that exists today, which poses new challenges and considerations for artists. These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease. Nicholas R. Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art at the Renwick Gallery, organized the exhibition.
“When the Renwick Gallery opened in 1972, it introduced a new generation of artists to the American public,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “I am excited that we are poised now to introduce to the museum’s community these 40 young artists who will inspire a new generation.”
The 40 artists featured in the exhibition are: Vivian Beer, Melanie Bilenker, Jeffrey Clancy, Dave Cole, Cristina Córdova, Gabriel Craig, Jennifer Crupi, Erik Demaine, Joshua DeMonte, Brian Dettmer, Nick Dong, Joseph Foster Ellis, Jeff Garner, Theaster Gates, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Jenny Hart, Sergey Jivetin, Lauren Kalman, Lara Knutson, Stephanie Liner, Marc Maiorana, Sebastian Martorana, Christy Matson, Cat Mazza, Daniel Michalik, Matt Moulthrop, Christy Oates, Olek, Andy Paiko, Mia Pearlman, L.J. Roberts, Laurel Roth, Shawn Smith, Jen Stark, Matthew Szösz, Uhuru (Jason Horvath and William Hilgendorf), Jamin Uticone, Anna Von Mertens, Stacey Lee Webber and Bohyun Yoon.
“We are seeing the beginning of a new cycle in contemporary craft, one in which the urgency of the idea is paramount,” said Bell. “The blurring of disciplinary lines within craft is a trademark of 21st-century artists; these 40 were selected to show the most engaging work of their generation and to highlight newly prevalent trends in the field.”
In 2010, Bell reviewed work by 2,000 artists from across the United States. Scouring galleries, master’s of fine arts programs, fairs, blogs and colleague recommendations, he chose artists whose work represents a new direction in craft. None of the artists selected has ever shown work at the Smithsonian Institution, and for most, Washington, D.C., is a new stage. The museum hopes to acquire works by every artist featured in the exhibition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery and strengthen its collection for the future.
Two works in the exhibition can be engaged directly by a visitor — Matson’s Sonic Structure II and Dong’s Enlightenment Room. Other works by Craig, Liner, Olek and Paiko encourage interacting with the artist or someone affiliated with the artwork on occasion.
Installation of work by the museum’s exhibition staff began late spring. Several artists were on hand to install works personally, including Dong, Ellis, Olek, Paiko and Pearlman. Photographs following the progress of the exhibition will be posted to the museum’s photo stream at flickr.com/photos/americanartmuseum. Information about each artist is available on the museum’s website at americanart.si.edu/renwick40. The public can join the conversation about the exhibition on Twitter by following @americanart and using #renwick40.
Public Programs Bell presents an opening lecture Friday, July 20, at noon, followed by an open house with artists featured in the exhibition. A family day with hands-on craft projects inspired by exhibition works will take place in the Renwick Gallery’s Grand Salon Saturday, Aug. 4. “Nation Building: Craft and Contemporary American Culture,” a symposium addressing issues pertinent to the future of the craft movement, will be held Nov. 8 and 9 in the McEvoy Auditorium (Eighth and G streets N.W.). Additional programs will be listed online at americanart.si.edu/renwick40 as they are confirmed.
Publication The forthcoming catalog is written by Bell, with contributions from Julia Bryan-Wilson, associate professor of art history at the University of California, Berkeley; Douglas Coupland, artist, novelist and cultural critic; Bernard L. Herman, the George B. Tindall Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Folklore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Michael J. Prokopow, associate professor, faculty of liberal studies at Ontario College of Art and Design. The book will be distributed by Yale University Press and will be available in hardcover in the Renwick Gallery store and on the museum’s website.
National Tour The exhibition travels following its presentation in Washington, D.C. A listing of venues will be available on the museum’s website as they are confirmed.
Credit 40 under 40: Craft Futures is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Fleur Bresler, the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation Endowment, the James Renwick Alliance, and the Windgate Charitable Foundation generously support the exhibition in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery. The publication is made possible by the James Renwick Alliance Dale Chihuly Publication Fund. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.
Christy Oates, Crane Chair, 2009, laser-cut and engraved plywood, maple veneer, bungee cord,
acrylic paint, wood dyes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Miriam and Leon Ellsworth in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Renwick Gallery
Andy Paiko, Spinning Wheel, 2007, blown glass, cocobolo wood, steel, brass, leather, Smithsonian
American Art Museum, Gift of Peg and Bob Van Andel, photo by Andy Paiko.
Nick Dong, Enlightenment Room, 2008, handmade porcelain tiles, acrylic mirror tiles, LED lamp, Courtesy of the artist, photo by Nick Dong.
Dave Cole, Kevlar Romper (3 Piece Suit), 2008, Kevlar (used Gulf War bullet proof vest) cut, sewn,
and hand knit, Courtesy of the artist and DODGE gallery, photo by Casey McNamara.
Stacey Lee Webber, Penny Shovel, 2011, pennies, Courtesy of the artist.
Jennifer Crupi, Ornamental Hands: Figure One, 2010, sterling silver, acrylic, inkjet print on vellum, courtesy of the artist, photo by Christian Luis.
Jen Stark, Power of Being, 2011, acid-free colored
paper on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum,
Gift of Gwen and Jerry Paulson, Sandy and Norman
Mitchell, and Diane and Marc Grainer, photo by Jen
Joshua DeMonte, Aqueduct Collar, 2008, gypsum, cyanoacrylate, Courtesy of the artist, photo by Joshua DeMonte.
Joseph Foster Ellis, China Tree, 2011, porcelain sauce pots, string, LED lights, Courtesy of the artist, photo by Joey Foster Ellis.