“This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World”
May 13 to April 2, 2023
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th St. N.W.
“This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World” showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft with 171 artworks made by a broadly representative and diverse group of American artists. These objects, drawn from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s extensive holdings of modern and contemporary craft, deepen the history of the studio craft movement while also introducing contemporary artworks that push the boundaries of what is considered to be handmade in the 21st century.
On view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, “This Present Moment” activates two floors of gallery space, with a range of craft mediums from fiber and ceramics to glass and mixed-media on display. The exhibition is organized by Mary Savig, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
“This Present Moment” marks the 50th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery as the nation’s premier museum dedicated to American craft.
Of the 171 artworks featured in the exhibition, 135 are new acquisitions that are on view at the Renwick Gallery for the first time.
The newly acquired works reflect a concerted multi-year acquisition campaign to enhance the museum’s collection of contemporary craft. The Renwick Gallery 50th Anniversary Acquisition Campaign was led by Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Anya Montiel (Mexican/Tohono O’odham descent), curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; and Savig. The new acquisitions bring into the national collection works by Black, Latinx, Asian American, LGBTQ+, Indigenous and women artists.
Artists whose works are featured in “This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World” and whose works have been acquired as part of this campaign include:
- Alicia Eggert
- Aram Han Sifuentes
- Bisa Butler
- Carla Hemlock [Kanienkeháka (Mohawk)]
- Carolyn Crump
- Che Rhodes
- Connie Mississippi
- Consuelo Jimenez Underwood
- David Chatt
- Dixie Biggs
- Dora De Larios
- Einar and Jamex de la Torre
- Gail Tremblay (Mi’kmaq and Onondaga)
- gwendolyn yoppolo
- J. Paul Fennell
- Joe Feddersen (Arrow Lakes/Okanagan)
- Karen LaMonte
- Katie Hudnall
- Kelly Church (Ottawa/Pottawatomi)
- Kevin and Valerie Pourier (Oglala Lakota)
- Kit Paulson
- Koji Tanaka
- Kukuli Velarde
- Laura Andreson
- Linda Lopez
- Preston Singletary (Tlingit)
- Roberto Lugo
- Ron Ho
- Sharon Kerry-Harlan
- Sonya Clark
- Tanya Aguiñiga
- Wendy Maruyama
- Woody de Othello
An accompanying catalog features essays by Atkinson, Montiel and Savig as well as commentary by artists David Chatt, Kelly Church, Sonya Clark, Alicia Eggert, Steven Young Lee, Wendy Maruyama, Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Connie Mississippi and Judith Schaechter. It is co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and D. Giles Limited, London.
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Note to the Editors: Selected high-resolution images for publication only are available through the museum’s Dropbox account. Email AmericanArtPressOffice@si.edu to request the link.
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the flagship museum of American art and craft. It is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. The museum’s main building, located at 8th and G Streets N.W., is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum’s Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check online for current hours and admission information. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.