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ASU Art Museum show, symposium explore the evolution of craft

Jarbas Lopes, Cicloviaéra, 2006 Oisier (natural fiber vine) over bicycle
August 08, 2013

The ASU Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts present "Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft," the first comprehensive museum exhibition to highlight their extensive craft holdings, including new international acquisitions in wood, ceramic and fiber. This exhibition and its accompanying catalog provide an international perspective on modern and contemporary crafts and the current level of innovation and experimentation in material studies.

The museum’s existing craft collection, which was initiated in the late 1960s, focuses on both established and emerging artists who are the driving force behind the model of rethinking craft. Recent acquisitions of work by national and international artists reflect current trends in the field. Established artists in the show include Peter Voulkos, Ed Moulthrop and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Emerging artists include Sonya Clark, Anders Ruhwald, Mark Newport and Alison Elizabeth Taylor. The exhibition includes approximately 100 objects in wood, ceramic and fiber.

In conjunction with the Sept. 27 opening reception for the exhibition, the ASU Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center are also hosting “FlashBackForward,” a symposium on the state of contemporary craft, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 28. The keynote speaker is Jenni Sorkin, assistant professor of contemporary art history at University of California, Santa Barbara, with lectures by artists Wendy Mayurama, Garth Johnson, Christine Lee, Del Harrow and Erika Lynne Hanson.

That weekend, Arizona artist Paul Nosa will join the museum for a two-day sewing performance featuring his Solar Sewing Rover, a portable sewing machine powered by a solar panel or a bicycle with an electric generator. Nosa will create original images, which are machine-sewn on fabric patches, using word associations provided by guests at both the opening and the symposium. For more information about Nosa’s work, visit

The exhibition is curated by Heather Sealy Lineberry, associate director and senior curator,  and Peter Held, curator of ceramics, with assistance from Windgate Curatorial Fellow Elizabeth Kozlowski.

The catalog that accompanies the show is approximately 200 pages, with color images, a series of essays and brief perspectives dedicated to the existence of craft within a critical context, a comprehensive bibliography, artists’ biographies and an index.

Selected works from the exhibition will travel to five additional venues around the country, beginning in January 2014 (see schedule below).

"Crafting a Continuum" exhibition schedule:

Sept. 7-Dec. 7
Opening reception: Friday, Sept. 27
ASU Art Museum, Lobby, Lower Level South and Turk Galleries
Ceramics Research Center, Tempe

Jan. 30-April 27, 2014
Bellevue Arts Museum
Bellevue, Wash.

May 17-Aug. 10, 2014
Boise Art Museum
Boise, Idaho

Sept. 13-Dec. 21, 2014
Ft. Wayne Museum of Art
Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Jan. 30-April 15, 2015
Nora Eccles Museum of Art, Utah State University
Logan, Utah

May 30-Aug. 30, 2015
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston, Texas

This exhibition and accompanying programming was made possible with generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Nancy Tieken and Joanne and Jim Rapp.

Deborah Sussman Susser,
ASU Art Museum