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Exhibitions

A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection

September 24, 2010 – January 30, 2011

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Image for A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection

Derek A. Bencomo, Hana Valley, First View, from the "Peaks and Valleys Series", 1995-1997, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995--2003)

A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection was on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. from September 24, 2010 through January 30, 2011.

A Revolution in Wood celebrates the magnificent gift of sixty-six pieces of turned and carved wood to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by the noted collectors, Fleur and Charles Bresler. Works by some of the best-known wood artists in the United States highlight the expressive capacity of craft's most organic material, and display wood turning's growing sophistication. Nearly half of the artworks in the exhibition will be on public display for the first time.

Masterpieces by the field's pioneers, including David Ellsworth, William Hunter, Mark and Melvin Lindquist, Edward Moulthrop, and Rude Osolnik, demonstrate the extraordinary range of expression achievable on the lathe, the medium's foundational tool. Compelling recent works by Ron Fleming, Michelle Holzapfel, Hugh McKay, Norm Sartorius, Mark Sfirri, and many others reveal the advent of new techniques, including multi-axis turning, the incorporation of secondary materials, and a strong focus on carving. The Bresler collection illustrates these evolving techniques and aesthetics, which has led to increased use of the term "wood art" rather than "wood turning" to describe the medium. Nicholas R. Bell, curator at the Renwick Gallery, organized the exhibition.

The museum has produced a five-minute film, with VideoArt Productions, which will be shown continuously in the exhibition galleries. It features interviews with Fleur Bresler; artists David Ellsworth and Mark Sfirri; and Kenneth R. Trapp, former curator-in-charge at the Renwick Gallery.


Publication
The catalogue, published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and distributed by Random House, is written by Nicholas R. Bell with a foreword by Elizabeth Broun, the museum’s director, and includes an interview with Fleur Bresler by Kenneth R. Trapp, former curator-in-charge at the Renwick Gallery. Bell's essay examines contemporary wood art's historical roots and its rapid growth since the 1970s, with a focus on how its development outside the studio craft movement shaped the current field. Bresler's interview offers a window on the collector's passion and highlights her twenty-five-year dedication to wood and the artists she considers family.

The section “Wood Art at the Renwick Gallery” illustrates in color more than 200 objects by more than 100 artists in the museum's wood-art collection, marking the first time this premier public collection is available in print. A Revolution in Wood is available for $45 (hardcover) in the museum store, online, and at book stores nationwide.


National Tour
A Revolution in Wood is available for tour to additional venues in the United States beginning in 2012. If you are interested in hosting the exhibition at your museum, please visit our traveling exhibitions page for contact information.



In the News
The Washington Post, October, 8 2010, "Renwick Gallery's A Revolution in Wood reveals a medium transformed" by Michael O'Sullivan

Free Public Programs
Friday, September 24, 2010 at noon; roundtable, Shop Talk
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at noon; gallery talk with collector Fleur Bresler
Friday, October 8, 2010 and Saturday, October 9, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Symposium—Crafting a Nation
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at noon; artist talk with David Ellsworth
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at noon; gallery talk with collector Fleur Bresler

Lathe Demonstrations
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Saturday, October 9, 2010 from 2 to 4 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 2 to 4 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Saturday, December 11, 2010 from 2 to 4 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Saturday, January 8, 2011 from 2 to 4 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 from noon to 1 p.m.; lathe demonstration


Credit
A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection is organized and circulated by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Windgate Charitable Foundation generously supported the publication. The James Renwick Alliance contributed generously to the film, exhibition, and public programs. The Collectors of Wood Art provided funding for the exhibition.



Luce Center for American Art
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