OBJECTS: REDUX—How 50 Years Made Craft Contemporary

September 28, 2019 — January 5, 2020
Main Gallery

Fall Exhibitions Reception
Friday, September 27, 5:30 – 8:00 PM

Curators’ Tour of Fall Exhibitions
Saturday, September 28, 3:00 – 4:30 PM

Conversation with Kathryn Hall & Anna Walker
Saturday, November 9, 3:00 – 4:30 PM

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is pleased to present OBJECTS: REDUX—How 50 Years Made Craft Contemporary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of OBJECTS: USA, a seminal exhibition of American craft that debuted at the Smithsonian National Collection of Fine Arts in 1969. Featuring a selection of work by artists in the original exhibition, along with contemporary makers who have made their own contributions to the field, OBJECTS: REDUX reflects on the legacy built by the influential survey.

As a traveling exhibition sponsored by S.C. Johnson and organized by art dealer Lee Nordness and Paul J. Smith, Director Emeritus of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts (now Museum of Art and Design), OBJECTS: USA acknowledged the pioneers of the American Studio Craft movement in enamel, ceramics, glass, metal, jewelry, plastic, mosaic, wood, and fiber. From glass artist Dale Chihuly to woodworker and furniture designer Wendell Castle, many of the featured artists embraced new techniques and modes of experimentation to engage with the world around them. As the exhibition traveled throughout the United States and Europe, many of the pieces were acquired by museums, solidifying the foundation of American Studio Craft collections across the country and making space for craft artists to be presented in the same context as fine art and design.

OBJECTS: REDUX demonstrates how craft first became contemporary in the 1960s and ‘70s, when studio-craft artists were striving to push boundaries and challenge the traditions of American craft.  The show looks critically at how the field has evolved in the last 50 years, moving beyond traditional wares and beautifully crafted functional objects, into a diverse selection of work that confronts the current socio-political environment and favors an interdisciplinary approach, utilizing new technologies and skill sets gleaned from traditional craft practices. The exhibition includes works by celebrated artists Wendell Castle, Dale Chihuly, Arline Fisch, Stanley Lechtzin, Howard Kottler, George Nakashima, and Tashiko Takaezu, as well as a variety of contemporary makers. Today’s artists, who continue to challenge existing hierarchies, embody the fearless spirit set forth by the American Studio Craft movement, while demonstrating the relevance of craft in a contemporary context.

OBJECTS: REDUX—How 50 Years Made Craft Contemporary is curated by HCCC Executive Director Perry Price and HCCC Curator Kathryn Hall.

Image credits:

  1. Harvey K. Littleton, “185°Squared Rotated Ellipsoid,” 1981. Glass. 15 ×4 1/2 ×5 1/4 in. and 4 3/4 ×4 1/4 ×6 3/4 in. Photo courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Gift of H. T. and Judy Youens, 83.252.A,.B© Harvey K. Littleton.
  2. Wharton Esherick, “Music Stand,” 1962. Cherry. 43 3/4 ×19 3/4 ×20 1/2 inches. Photo courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by J. Brian and Varina Eby, by exchange, 97.112© Estate of Wharton Esherick.
  3. Arline Fisch, “Collar,” 1983. Copper wire.1/2 ×10 1/2 in. Photo courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Helen Williams Drutt Collection, museum purchase funded by the Design Council, 2003; Sally and Tom Joyce; and Anned Muse, 2002.3740© Arline Fisch.
  4. Stanley Lechtzin, “Brooch 90-B,” 1967. 14k gold, quartz, baroque pearls, and silver. 3 1/4 ×2 1/2 ×1 3/8 in. Photo courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Helen Williams Drutt Collection, museum purchase funded by the Morgan Foundation, 2002.3907© Stanley Lechtzin.
  5. Wendell Castle, “Molar Couch,” 1965. Fiberglass. 25 1/2 ×54 ×33 in. Image courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection, museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, 2010.2042© Wendell Castle, Inc.
  6. John Axel Prip, “Four-piece ‘Diamond’ Pattern Tea and Coffee Service,” 1960. Manufactured by Reed & Barton. Silver. Coffeepot: 11 3/4 ×7 1/2 ×4 1/4 in. Teapot:  7 7/8 ×7 1/2 ×5 in. Creamer:  4 1/2 ×4 3/8 ×3 in. Sugar Bowl:  4 1/2 ×4 ×4 in. Image courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection, gift of Leatrice and Melvin Eagle in honor of the memory of Lottie and Benjamin Eagle, 2010.2263.1-.4.
  7. Sonya Clark, “Octoroon,” 2018. Canvas and thread. 83 x 38.25 inches. Courtesy of artist and Lisa Sette Gallery.
  8. Nicki Green, “Operating in Bright Sunlight,” 2015. Glazed earthenware. 17.5 x 15 x 15 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  9. Holland Houdek, “Asymmetrical Mammoplasty – Double Breast Implant,” 2015. From the Hyperbolicseries. Hand-fabricated copper, pierced, silicone breast implants, bead-blasted Swarovski crystals (1,267), patina. 1.75 x 10.75 x 7.25 inches. Photo courtesy the artist.
  10. Holland Houdek, “Cardiotubular Apparatus – Heart Replacement,” 2016. From the Hyperbolicseries. Hand-fabricated copper, pierced and bead-blasted Swarovski crystals (558), patina. 4.25 x 5.75 x 4.5 inches. Image courtesy the artist.
  11. Roberto Lugo, “Colin and a Queen,” 2018. Terra cotta, china paint, luster. 11 x 6.5 x 17 inches. Photo by KeneK Photography. Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.
  12. Roberto Lugo, “Colin and a Queen,” 2018. Terra cotta, china paint, luster. 11 x 6.5 x 17 inches. Photo by KeneK Photography. Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.
  13. Roberto Lugo, detail of “Colin and a Queen,” 2018. Terra cotta, china paint, luster. 11 x 6.5 x 17 inches. Photo by KeneK Photography. Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.
  14. Matthew Szösz, “Untitled (Inflatable) No. 75g,” 2018. Glass. 19 x 9 x 19 inches. Photo by artist.
  15. Matthew Szösz, “Untitled (Inflatable) No. 85b,” 2018. Glass. 16.5 x 13 x 16.5 inches. Photo by artist.
  16. Norwood Viviano, Detail of “Cities Underwater: Galveston, TX,” 2018. Blown glass, vinyl cut drawing. Photo courtesy of Heller Gallery, New York.
  17. Norwood Viviano, Detail of “Cities Underwater: New Orleans, LA,” 2018. Blown glass, vinyl cut drawing. Photo courtesy of Heller Gallery, New York.