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The Academy is Full of Craft

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CraftPerspectives Lecture: Vicki Halper

In her lecture, Choosing Craft: The Artist’s Viewpoint, Vicki Halper provides context for the historical shifts examined in The Academy is Full of Craft.

CraftPerspectives Lecture: Vicki Halper
November 3, 2009

July 28, 2009 – February 20, 2010

Curated by: Namita Gupta Wiggers

Following the end of WWII, financial support from the G. I. Bill enabled many veterans to pursue otherwise inaccessible academic degrees. The entrance of men and women from a broad range of economic backgrounds into American colleges and universities dramatically altered “the academy” as a whole, and contributed immeasurably to the development of the American Craft Movement. These early pioneers expanded arts curricula to include craft-based materials, methods and techniques, and contributed towards a shift away from traditional apprenticeship models to the pursuit of academic degrees as a critical marker of the professional artist or craftsperson. Significantly, Howard Singerman, author of Art Subjects: Making Artists in the American University (1999), notes that nearly every artist under the age of fi fty holds a Master of Fine Arts degree. The Academy is Full of Craft examines this multi-generational shift from master/apprentice to professor/student through a physical and visual mapping of selected ceramic works from the Museum’s collection.

The exhibition also reveals how information design is a tool for the analysis and presentation of complex data. John Arndt and Wonhee Jeong (a.k.a. Studio Gorm) transformed the curator’s object checklist and pages of notes into an elegant “subway map” that succinctly communicates layers of history and relationships. Using simple and commercially available materials, Arndt and Jeong further expanded the map into the design of the exhibition. Museum visitors who studied with ceramicists in the exhibition are invited to add their name to the interactive chalkboard map in The Lab.

The Academy is Full of Craft is curated by Namita Gupta Wiggers, Museum of Contemporary Craft, and co-designed by John Arndt and Wonhee Jeong (Studio Gorm). Arndt earned a bfa from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, ny and Jeong holds a BFA in sculpture from Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea. Both hold Masters of Design degrees from the Design Academy, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. For further information on the Museum’s collection, Unpacking the Collection: Selections from the Museum of Contemporary Craft is available for purchase in The Gallery.