Origins, Artists & Aspirations: Minnesota Museum of American Art

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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.

AIRED: March 20, 2019 | 0:03:45
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TRANSCRIPT

(gentle guitar music)

- [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.

(upbeat rock music)

- 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.

(upbeat rock music)

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