Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018

This is a picture of a circular sculpture piece resting on a chair.

Disrupting Craft presents the work of Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth, and Stephanie Syjuco, four artists who challenge the conventional definitions of craft by imbuing it with a renewed sense of emotional purpose, inclusiveness, and activism.

The four artists work in an expansive variety of media including ceramics, wood, and fibers. They all share a dedication to social justice and to interrogating cultural identities and established historical narratives. By exploiting the conceptual toolkits of craft, they develop responses to the contemporary political landscape while also analyzing and challenging their own cultural histories.


Tanya Aguiñiga is an artist, designer, and compassionate activist rooted in her many communities. Her work, comprised mostly of natural fibers, is infused with a performative, and often surreal, quality that reveals raw personal narratives with a scope of universality.

Sharif Bey interweaves his roles as educator, father, and ceramicist, continuously reinventing his artistic process. Ranging from the utilitarian to the sculptural and purely abstract, his work explores complex cultural histories and identity.

Dustin Farnsworth manipulates wood into haunting storylines that inhabit intricately detailed portraits of today’s youth, shedding light on those inheriting societal and economic decay, the rise of gun deaths, and the oppression of marginalized communities.

Stephanie Syjuco uses social practice and the tropes of craft to challenge our perceptions of “types” in contemporary America, uncovering the manifestation of the handmade within digital processes and virtual networks of dissemination.

The artists were selected by Abraham Thomas, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-In-Charge for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Sarah Archer, independent curator, writer, and contributing editor for American Craft Inquiry; and Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion at The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Disrupting Craft is the eighth installment of the Renwick Invitational, a biennial showcase for mid-career and emerging makers.

Visiting Information

November 9, 2018 — May 52019
Open Daily, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m
Free Admission


A large circular object balancing on a chair.
Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018
Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018 features essays written by the jurors that explore how each artist has used their chosen media to contribute beyond the confines of the art world.



The Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation Endowment provides support for the Renwick Invitational. The Cohen Family’s generosity in creating this endowment makes possible this biennial series highlighting outstanding craft artists who are deserving of wider national recognition.

SAAM Stories

A detailed photograph of wood carved skulls on a wall.
Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018 opens Friday, November 9, and might be just what you need this week.
Libby Weiler
IT Specialist - External Affairs and Digital Strategies


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Sharif Bey
born Pittsburgh, PA 1974
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Dustin Farnsworth
born Lansing, MI 1983
Stephanie Syjuco
born Manila, Philippines 1974