40 under 40: Craft Futures

July 19, 2012 — February 3, 2013

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)

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.


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: The Documentary debuted Tuesday, January 15, 2013. The full episode is available through the Smithsonian Channel's website.

Exhibition Catalogue

40 under 40: Craft Futures

The accompanying exhibition catalogue is written by Nicholas R. 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 available for purchase online.

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


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.