Crafting Opportunity | Mingei International Museum
Untitled (detail), Kay Whitcomb, (1921-2015), 1969, Gustavsberg, Sweden, enamel on steel. 2018-023-002
Image: Untitled (detail), Kay Whitcomb, (1921-2015), 1969, Gustavsberg, Sweden, enamel on steel. 2018-023-002

On View

May 11 - Jul 28, 2019

Curated By

Barbara Hanson Forsyth

Crafting Opportunity, an exhibition of ceramics, furniture, fashion, fiber art, jewelry, and metalwork, explores the robust artistic output that followed World War II. Many of the works, selected from Mingei International Museum’s permanent collection, are on view for the first time.

Mid-century craft and design in America is a study in creative pluralism, a blurring of the lines between fine and applied arts, craft and production, rustic and modern, functional and conceptual. The designer-craftsmen movement of the era was known for both camaraderie and individualism; for some craftspeople, universities served as incubators; other artists prospered independently. A distinct sense of place—from the city of San Diego to the pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico—existed alongside domestic and international influences, and counterculture was not incompatible with commercial success. Women who had been displaced from wartime work by returning veterans could pursue a range of opportunities, whether working for themselves, for a company, or in collaboration with their spouses. The result was a pervasive spirit of experimentation uniting this diverse collection, which continues to inspire and delight makers and collectors today.

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