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40 under 40: Craft Futures

July 20, 2012 – February 3, 2013


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40 under 40: Craft Futures features forty artists born since 1972, the year the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft and decorative arts program was established at its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery. The exhibition investigates evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics and metalwork, as well as in fields as varied as sculpture, industrial design, installation art, fashion design, sustainable manufacturing, and mathematics. The range of disciplines represented illustrates new avenues for the handmade in contemporary culture.

All of the artworks selected for display in the exhibition were created since Sept. 11, 2001. This new work reflects the changed world that exists today, which poses new challenges and considerations for artists. These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.

Nicholas R. Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art at the Renwick Gallery, organized the exhibition. The museum hopes to acquire works by every artist featured in the exhibition to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Renwick Gallery. Click here to learn how you can help in this effort.

Select works from 40 under 40: Craft Futures provided inspiration to the designers of Washington Design Center’s 2012 DreamHome. Visit for more information.

40 Under 40: The Documentary
The Smithsonian Channel takes us behind-the-scenes to experience the challenges and rewards of bringing together 40 unique artists at the top of their craft. 40 Under 40 debuted Tuesday, January 15, 2013. You can watch the full episode on the Smithsonian Channel's website or on YouTube.

The exhibition catalog is written by Bell, with contributions from Julia Bryan-Wilson, associate professor of art history at the University of California, Berkeley; Douglas Coupland, Canadian novelist, visual artist and designer; Bernard L. Herman, the George B. Tindall Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Folklore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Michael J. Prokopow, associate professor at OCAD University, Toronto. The book is distributed by Yale University Press and is available online for $50 (hardcover).

Stay Connected
You can join the conversation about the exhibition on Twitter by following @americanart and using #renwick40. Meet the artists on YouTube or follow the exhibition installation on Flickr.

Contribute to the museum's acquisition of artworks from 40 under 40: Craft Futures and we’ll credit you on our website.

Go behind-the-scenes with the museum's blog, Eye Level
Smithsonian Channel's Documentary On Our Exhibition 40 under 40: Craft Futures, February 6, 2013
Last Chance: The Final Hours of 40 under 40, February 1, 2013
40 Under 40: Five Questions with Artist Laurel Roth, January 8, 2013
40 under 40: The Craft of Assisting a Curator, October 5, 2012
Picture This: A Dress to Change the World, October 2, 2012
40 under 40: Q & A with Curator Nicholas Bell, July 31, 2012
Picture This: Einstein Wrapped in Yarn, July 20, 2012
Picture This: Installing 40 under 40, July 18, 2012
40 Under 40: Meet Craft Evangelist Gabriel Craig, June 22, 2012
In This Case: Luce Under 40, June 15, 2012
40 Years, 40 Days, 40 Artists…40 Reasons to Love Craft!, June 6, 2012
Give American Craft Some Credit: For the Birds Edition, May 22, 2012

Public Programs
July 20, 2012 from noon – 2:30 p.m., Curator Talk and Artist Open House
August 4, 2012 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Craft Futures Family Day
August 29, 2012 at noon, Gallery Talk
September 7, 2012, noon, Studio Glass at 50
September 13, 2012, 5:30 – 8 p.m., Craft Futures Handi-hour with artist Daniel Michalik
September 19, 2012, noon, American Craft Masterpieces: Sergey Jivetin’s Poultry Accumulus
September 22, 2012, 8 p.m., A Dress to Change the World with Jeff Garner/Prophetik
October 12, 2012, noon, Design Craft: DreamHome
October 17, 2012, noon, American Craft Masterpieces: Vivian Beer’s
November 8 and 9, Symposium, Nation Building
November 14, 2012, noon, American Craft Masterpieces: Andy Paiko’s Spinning Wheel
November 27, 2012, noon, Gallery Talk
November 29, 2012, 5:30 – 8 p.m., Craft Futures Handi-hour
December 8, 2012, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Renwick Holiday Festival with artist Shawn Smith
December 12, 2012, noon, American Craft Masterpieces: Christy Matson’s Sonic Structure II
January 9, 2013, noon, American Craft Masterpieces: Bohyun Yoon’s Glass Tube
January 10, 2013, 4 p.m., Sneak Preview Screening: 40 under 40
January 16, 2013, noon, Artist Talk with Erik Demaine and Film Screening Between the Folds
January 23, 2013, noon, Gallery Talk
January 23, 2013, 5:30 – 8 p.m., Craft Futures Handi-hour with artist Stacey Lee Webber
February 1, 2013, noon, Lasers: Beyond the Light Show with artist Christy Oates

Sit ‘n’ Stitch
Thursdays (August through January) from 12:30 – 2 p.m.
First Sundays (August through January) from 2 – 4 p.m.
Check the online calendar for details!

In the News
Artforum, January 2013, Critics’ Picks by Katie Anania
The Etsy Blog, Oct. 5. 2012, "40 Under 40: Defining the Future of Craft" by Chappell Ellison
American Craft, October/November 2012, "Future Tense: 40 under 40" by Monica Moses
WHERE Magazine, October 2012, "Change of Art" by Kerri Pinchuk
National Endowment for the Arts, Sept. 28, "Art Talk with Nicholas Bell of Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum" by Paulette Beete and J. Rachel Gustafson
NPR Weekend Edition, Sept. 9, "Are All Young Artists 'Post-9/11' Artists?" by Neda Ulaby
WETA, August 2012, Around Town, 40 under 40
Washington City Paper, Aug. 3, 2012, "The revolution will be knitted" by John Anderson
The New York Times, Aug. 2, 2012, "'40 Under 40: Craft Futures' Salutes Young Artists" by Julie Lasky
Voice of America, July 31, 2012, "Museum Hit Milestone with '40 Under 40'" by Julie Taboh
American Craft Council, July 25, 2012, "'40 Under 40' Probes the Future" by Perry Price
The Washington Post, July 24, 2012, "Pushing craft into art’s realm" by Danielle O'Steen
The Baltimore Sun, July 22, 2012, "A Step Toward Art" by Susan Reimer
Smithsonian Magazine, July 20, 2012, "'40 Under 40' Opens at the Renwick Today" by Jeanie Riess
The Huffington Post, July 19, 2012, "'40 Under 40: Craft Futures' Spotlights Next Generation in Craft At Smithsonian American Art Museum"
Home & Design, Summer 2012, "Young Visionaries" by Tina Coplan
DC Magazine, July/August 2012, "Craft Service" by Tiffany Jow

40 under 40: Craft Futures celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the Renwick Gallery and is an expanded presentation in the biennial series called the Renwick Craft Invitational, which celebrates artists deserving of wider recognition. The series is supported by the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation Endowment. The James Renwick Alliance provided essential support for this expanded presentation, as well as funding for the catalogue through its Dale Chihuly Publication Fund. The Museum also gratefully acknowledges major contributions to the exhibition from Fleur Bresler and from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

Selected Artists
Vivian Beer, b. 1977
Melanie Bilenker, b. 1978
Jeffrey Clancy, b. 1976
Dave Cole, b. 1975
Cristina Córdova , b. 1976
Gabriel Craig, b. 1983
Jennifer Crupi, b. 1973
Erik Demaine, b. 1981
Joshua DeMonte, b. 1984
Brian Dettmer, b. 1974
Nick Dong, b. 1973
Joey Foster Ellis, b. 1984
Jeff Garner, b. 1978
Theaster Gates, b. 1975
Sabrina Gschwandtner, b. 1977
Jenny Hart, b. 1972
Sergey Jivetin, b. 1977
Lauren Kalman, b. 1980
Lara Knutson, b. 1974
Stephanie Liner, b. 1978
Marc Maiorana, b. 1978
Sebastian Martorana, b. 1981
Christy Matson, b. 1979
Cat Mazza, b. 1977
Daniel Michalik, b. 1972
Matt Moulthrop, b. 1977
Christy Oates, b. 1980
Olek, b. 1978
Andy Paiko, b. 1977
Mia Pearlman, b. 1974
L. J. Roberts, b. 1980
Laurel Roth, b. 1973
Shawn Smith, b. 1972
Jen Stark, b. 1983
Matthew Szösz, b. 1974
Uhuru (Jason Horvath, b. 1978 and Bill Hilgendorf, b. 1979)
Jamin Uticone, b. 1975
Anna Von Mertens, b. 1973
Stacey Lee Webber, b. 1982
Bohyun Yoon, b. 1976