Changes, Honors, Farewells

Changes, Honors, Farewells


ford/forlano's (aka Steve Ford and David Forlano) large reversible necklace in silver and polymer clay, photo/Karen Mauch.

The Philadelphia Art Alliance is changing its exhibition focus to craft beginning with the exhibition “‘Dear High Art’: Contemporary Craft in Dialogue,” a show featuring artists “whose work challenges a basic premise of traditional aesthetics.”… Also in September, New York’s Greenwich House Pottery kicks off
its 100th season, with special events.

Chandelier Dress by Susan Taylor Glasgow was a highlight, so to speak, of the “Glass Fashion Show” held at the closing-night bash of the Glass Art Society’s June conference in Corning, ny, a semi-tradition of gas gatherings… Fluent Steps, an outdoor glass sculpture by Martin Blank, has been installed at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, which commissioned the piece for its main plaza reflecting pool. The 207-foot-long work consists of 754 individually hand-sculpted pieces…In memory of Anne d’Harnoncourt, the late, longtime director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, its Women’s Committee commissioned the jewelry design duo ford/forlano–aka Steve Ford and David Forlano–to create a piece for the collection. Their large reversible necklace in silver and polymer clay—one side “subtle, classical, restrained, the other exuberant and colorful”—was recently exhibited with other highlights from the holdings.

Scott Jacobson has moved his newly named Scott Jacobson Gallery (formerly Leo Kaplan Modern), specializing in contemporary glass and furniture, to new quarters at 114 East 57th Street, where he shares space with the antiques-oriented Leo Kaplan Ltd., operated by his wife, Susie Kaplan Jacobson.

Mattiebelle Gittinger, a prominent scholar in the field of Southeast Asian textiles, is the 2009 recipient of the prestigious George Hewitt Myers Award from the Textile Museum in Washington, DC…The Ohio Designer Craftsmen Outstanding Achievement Award went this year to metalsmith Tom Muir, who made Twin Riser…The Pilchuck Glass School honored artist Paul Marioni with its Libensky Award at a dinner held on the Stanwood, WA, campus in May.

Two years into a major overhaul of its American Wing, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has reopened its Charles Engelhard Court and American period rooms, with reinterpreted displays of furniture, sculpture, stained glass, silver, pewter and jewelry. The final phase of renovations is scheduled for completion in 2011…Eike Schmidt, formerly a curator at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, has joined the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where he is head of decorative arts, textiles and sculpture…The new executive director/CEO of the Bellevue Arts Museum, WA, is Mark Crawford, who brings to the position 25 years of leadership experience with non- and for-profit organizations. Michael Monroe, the museum’s director of curatorial affairs, will retire next February as director emeritus.

Susan Peterson, 83, a ceramist and educator whose research, writing and advocacy brought new stature and wider appreciation to clay art died March 26, at her home in Scottsdale, az. An alumna of Mills College and the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Peterson established ceramics programs at Chouinard, USC, the Idyllwild School and Hunter College before retiring in 1994. She traveled and lectured worldwide, and authored the classics The Living Tradition of Maria Martinez (1977), Lucy M. Lewis: American Indian Potter (1984) and The Craft and Art of Clay (1992). She was an ACC Fellow, and received a lifetime achievement award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Her collection of books, slides, notes and pottery is available for study at the Susan Harnly Peterson Ceramic Research Archive at Arizona State University. Memorial donations to support the archive may be sent to ASU Foundation, ASU Art Museum, p. o. Box 872911, Tempe, AZ 86287 (attention Peter Held, Curator of Ceramics).

Sam Maloof, 93, who for 60 years designed and built furniture prized for its beautiful woods, sinuous lines, peerless craftsmanship and perfect function, died May 21 at his home in Alta Loma, ca, following a brief illness.

Born in Chino, CA, to Lebanese immigrant parents, Maloof was a self-taught woodworker. He opened his first workshop in 1949 and achieved early success making furnishings for modern Southern California interiors. As his work evolved, he became a monumental figure in the craft world, beloved for his artistry, integrity and warmth.

“From the outset Maloof committed himself to a singular vision,” Jeremy Adamson wrote in his book accompanying Maloof’s 2001 retrospective at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton each owned one of his rockers. Ray Charles once touched a Maloof chair and declared it had “soul.” He received countless awards, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and designation as a Living Treasure of California, but was always humble. “I just do what I do,” he said.

His spirit and legacy live on at the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts, the spectacular six-acre compound where he resided with his second wife, Beverly, and worked daily in his studio. The heart of the property is the rambling redwood house he built and shared with the late Alfreda, his first wife. Filled with his handmade details and splendid collections of art and craft, it is a National Historic Landmark, open to the public for tours

John “Jack” Prip, 86, a silversmith whose classic functional designs combined European technical mastery with American inventiveness, died April 9. Born in New York in 1922 to a Danish father and American mother, Prip grew up in Denmark and apprenticed in his family’s silver factory. At 26 he returned to the u.s. to teach at the School for American Craftsmen in Rochester, and later co-owned Shop One, an early retail outlet for fine contemporary craft, with Tage Frid, Ronald Hayes Pearson and Frans Wildenhain. As designer-in-residence at Reed & Barton in the 1950s, he created popular lines of flatware and serving pieces in the modernist style. From 1960 to 1981 he taught at the Rhode Island School of Design. Prip was a Fellow of the American Craft Council and in 1992 received the organization’s highest honor, the Gold Medal.

Harry Dennis, 80, founding publisher of American Ceramics, died April 27 in New York City after a brief illness. A specialist in craft and design, Dennis started the magazine in 1982, having sensed the need for a critical forum devoted to ceramic art. It has documented the field ever since, presenting leading artists and distinguished writers in an elegant, award-winning design format.