Over the weekend of June 13th I spent about 8 hours at the 4th Annual Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, braving lashing rain, beating sun, an onslaught of hipsters and the impulse to buy many (sometimes too) cute things. I went on Saturday with a friend studying fashion design at FIT grad school, who walked away with vibrant screenprints and silkscreened t-shirts.
After four days of frenzied crowds at the Eleventh Annual Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair (SOFA) at the Park Avenue Armory in New York-opening night alone drew over 2,600 people-visiting the exhibition on Sunday, June 1, the final day, was an unexpectedly calming experience. No longer were there throngs pushing past each other rushing to stake claims on one must-have piece or another.
The artisanal urge-the fundamental human desire to make something with one's own hands-has never been so endangered as it is right now. Quite frankly, this is a situation that sends a chill down my spine. Consider the work of Jeff Koons, one of the most widely discussed and highly praised artists of the last 20 years. His Hanging Heart, [figure 1] an oversized version of a shiny magenta bauble suspended from a golden ribbon, obviously manufactured to the artist's specs, recently sold at auction for $23.6 million.
Laurel Porcari sculpts architectural glass in her New Orleans studio. Glass requires technique and some heavy lifting. It is a hot, physically demanding process. Porcari embeds drawings and textures in the medium. Asked to describe the kiln-formed works, she speaks conceptually about mapping and flow, about scale and place. Given these terms and her Big Easy address, it's easy to presume that the artist's designs reference the broken levees and flooded neighborhoods wrought by Hurricane Katrina. They don't. Porcari doesn't go in for the literal.