Celebrating Craft: MN Museum of American Art
The Minnesota Museum of American Art celebrates studio craft through their collection of mid-twentieth century and contemporary works.
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- [Kristin] The Studio Craft Movement
helped democratize the arts.
The idea that it was not something
that had to be made by a master craftsman,
it could also be made by anyone.
So it was a way for people to realize
it's something that I can purchase,
I can live with, I can create myself.
And that started with the Arts and Crafts Movement
in the 19th century.
But what our collection really showcases
is the moment in which all of this sort of burst onto
the scene in the mid 20th century.
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- If you read a dictionary definition
of the Studio Craft Movement,
you'd read something about objects that are made with
glass, metal, wood, clay, or fiber
and to what degree are those utilitarian objects,
bowls or vessels of some sort.
- In 1947, we hired a director named Malcolm Lein
and he was very interested in bringing
the latest ideas of design and craft
into the art museum setting.
And so it was he who hired Warren MacKenzie
and his wife Alix MacKenzie to start a pottery studio
so that anybody could come and learn
the tenants of fine craft.
- Since the 1950s and 60s and 70s,
we've been doing all these exhibitions of craft
and we acquired many objects out of
each of those exhibitions for our permanent collection.
- The museum collected broadly and widely
from each of these exhibitions,
both Fiber, Clay, and Metal and Goldsmith '70.
And so what you see here is this broad
and vast representation of the field.
Obviously there are some key master works here,
Peter Voulkos from 1958, this is
at his most exceptional period, his most experimental.
Albert Paley has a key work here from
one of his most wildly expressive moments in jewelry.
- The M is really interested in continuing this legacy of
working with these wonderful craft materials.
But what's interesting about artists these days
is they're taking these materials into brand new areas.
- Thank you for including me, yeah, yeah, thank you.
It's a hand-thrown ceramic vase
and found object , which refers to Duchamp's Fountain, 1917.
My background is ceramics.
My work intersects between art and craft,
design, and architecture.
Working with my hand is a way of
understanding. Traditional vase
is so much about bringing aesthetic value.
Duchamp divorced that relationship
and it's such a unique way to experience the world.
- The idea of what we call craft or studio craft,
has a lot of room to surprise people.
- The M is going to continue to be on the forefront
of collecting craft, but now showing the innovation
of where craft is going and it's coming off of the table
and of the places that really made a strong statement
at the early part of the 20th century
and now is exploding even to your street corner
where you see lamp posts yarn-bombed.
And the beauty of this all coming together
is something we wanna explore as we go forward.
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