40 under 40: Craft Futures

July 19, 2012 — February 3, 2013

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Media - 2011.54.1 - SAAM-2011.54.1_2 - 80091

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.

Exhibition Catalogue

40 Under 40: Craft Futures

40 Under 40: Craft Futures examines the expanding role of the handmade in contemporary culture through the work of the next generation of artists. Organized in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian's branch museum for American craft and decorative arts, this project gathers forty makers born since 1972, the year the Renwick opened to the public. Apparent are rapidly evolving notions of craft, ranging from traditional media, such as ceramics and jewelry, to fields as varied as sculpture, industrial design, performance and installation art, fashion design, sustainable manufacturing, and mathematics.

Video

Date
  • 40 under 40: Craft Futures was on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum from July 20, 2012 – February 3, 2013. This trailer features work by artists Jeff Garner, Sebastian Martorana, Daniel Michalik, and Olek. View our other videos to see work by more artists. 

    NARRATOR: “40 under 40,” a new exhibition featuring 40 artists under 40 exploring new directions in craft, at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

    For the 2012-13 the Renwick's exhibition 40 under 40: Craft Futures, the museum asked the 40 artists featured to share personal videos of themselves with our audience.

    ACTOR: “My name is Gabriel Craig.”

    GABRIEL CRAIG: “Hello, have you accepted craft as your way to salvation?”

    PASSERBY: “What?”

    GC: “Craft”

    ACTOR: “My name is Gabriel Craig.”

    GC: My generation is looking for meaning in their work, and from the beginning of my career, the craft object seemed like an incomplete thought.

    ACTOR: “My name is Gabriel Craig.”

    GC: For me, craft is a set of values, an opportunity for engagement in the community, an invitation to use my hands.

    ACTOR: “My name is Gabriel Craig.”

    GC: Craft is a pretext to address sociocultural issues like labor, consumption, and tradition – issues that cut to the heart of our society. For me, "40 Under 40" presents an opportunity to place these issues – and to place craft – in the political context of Washington, DC. This fall, I will be the crafter of K street. I will be the metalsmith on the Mall. I’m Gabriel Craig, and I’m a metalsmith, writer, and craft activist.

    Film

    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.

    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

    Credits

    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.