"Crafting a Continuum" Explores Innovation in Modern & Contemporary Craft

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Highlighting the ASU Art Museum’s extensive holdings in craft objects made from wood, ceramic and fiber, this summer exhibition at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft provides a national and international perspective on modern and contemporary craft and the current level of innovation and experimentation in material studies.

Matthias Pliessnig, "Brace," 2012. White oak, copper. Photo by Craig Smith, courtesy Arizona State University Art Museum.

[The newer artists] are pushing the boundaries of materials and experimenting with technology, yet remain utterly convinced by the power of the handmade object.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is pleased to host "Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft," an exhibition organized by the Arizona State University (ASU) Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Highlighting the Museum’s extensive holdings in craft objects made from wood, ceramic and fiber, the exhibition provides a national and international perspective on modern and contemporary craft and the current level of innovation and experimentation in material studies.

HCCC Curator, Elizabeth Kozlowski, was an assistant curator of the exhibition when she worked as the Windgate Curatorial Fellow at ASU Art Museum in 2013. Kozlowski says that "Crafting a Continuum" presents the work of pioneering artists of the studio-craft movement—a group that was pivotal in building and maintaining craft programs in higher education institutions around the country—and those generations of artists that have followed. Both of these groups are the driving force behind the model of “rethinking craft.” “The newer artists have built upon the knowledge of their predecessors but have a different approach to craft and care little about how their work is classified. They are pushing the boundaries of materials and experimenting with technology, yet remain utterly convinced by the power of the handmade object.”

Featured artists in the exhibition include studio-craft pioneers, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ed Moulthrop, and Peter Voulkos, who were hugely influential to many of today’s craft artists. Contemporary artists include Sonya Clark, Mark Newport, Matthias Pliessnig, Anders Ruhwald, and Alison Elizabeth Taylor. This group routinely pushes the boundaries of their work through materials or content by commenting on social issues, integrating technology into their processes and experimenting with trans-disciplinary work. International artists, such as Danish female collaborative Claydies (Karin Kjældgård-Larsen and Tine Broksø) and Swedish ceramic artist Karin Karinson Nilsson, add another dimension to the show by demonstrating a playful irreverence in their work.

"Crafting a Continuum" was curated by ASU Art Museum’s Associate Director and Senior Curator Heather Sealy Lineberry and its former Curator of Ceramics, Peter Held, with assistance from former Windgate Curatorial Fellow Elizabeth Kozlowski (now Curator at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft). The exhibition was made possible with generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

The full-color catalog that accompanies the show is approximately 192 pages, with a series of essays and brief perspectives dedicated to the existence of craft within a critical context, a comprehensive bibliography, artist biographies, and an index. The catalog will be sold in HCCC’s Asher Gallery.

Exhibition Dates
May 29 – August 29, 2015
Front and Main Galleries
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

Opening Reception
Friday, May 29, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
The evening will also feature open studios by HCCC’s current resident artists.

Related Programming
Lecture and Workshop by Ceramic Artist Del Harrow – Date TBD
Lecture by Betsy Greer, Author of Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism -- Saturday, August 29, 2 PM

Hours
Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday, 12 – 5 PM. Closed Easter Sunday (April 5th), July 4th, and Sundays, July 5th – Labor Day.

Free Admission

About Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is a nonprofit arts organization founded to advance education about the process, product and history of craft. HCCC serves as an important cultural and educational resource for Houston and the Southwest—one of the few venues in the country dedicated exclusively to craft at the highest level. The organization provides exhibition, sales and studio spaces to support the work of local and national artists and offers mission-related educational programs in schools and underserved communities. Visitors enjoy viewing innovative exhibitions, visiting artist studios, strolling through the Craft Garden, creating their own crafts in monthly HANDS-ON HOUSTON events, and shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts and home décor in the Asher Gallery.

Located in the Houston Museum District at 4848 Main Street, HCCC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday, 12 – 5 PM. Spring/Summer Hours: Closed Easter Sunday (April 5th), July 4th, and on Sundays, July 5th – Labor Day. Admission is free. Free parking is available directly behind the facility, off Rosedale and Travis Street. HCCC is three blocks south of Wheeler Ave. MetroRail station on Main Street.

HCCC is funded in part by grants from The Brown Foundation; Houston Endowment, Inc.; Texas Commission on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Kinder Foundation; the Morgan Foundation; Windgate Charitable Foundation; and the Wortham Foundation.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is funded by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and is a participant of the Capacity Building Initiative.

Follow HCCC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @CraftHouston.

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Mary Headrick
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