Shows to See: February/March 2015

Shows to See: February/March 2015

Published on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. This article appears in the February/March 2015 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
19th-Century Chinese Surcoat

A 19th-century Chinese surcoat at the Textile Museum; Photo: Courtesy of the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum

CA / Los Angeles 
Craft and Folk Art Museum
Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters
to May 3
Among craft practices, perhaps none has been customarily more the province of women than quiltmaking. But increasingly, male artists are bringing some XY to the bee. Here, Joe Cunningham [“Crazy Quilts”], Luke Haynes, Jimmy McBride, Aaron McIntosh, Dan Olfe, Joel Otterson, Shawn Quinlan, and Ben Venom shake out conventional notions of quilting as they explore themes ranging from masculinity to science fiction.

DC / Washington 
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center
Sam Noto, Steel Sculpture: Anxiety and Hope 
to Mar. 15
Sam Noto was an accountant before beginning his sculpture training in 1982, at 42. It was another 13 years before he was able to become a full-time artist – the career he had been drawn to all his life. His work is deeply personal, a quest to express emotional and psychological states by working improvisationally and allowing his materials to inspire the forms they take.

DC / Washington
The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum
Unraveling Identity: Our Textiles, Our Stories 
Mar. 21 – to Aug. 24
Now that’s a fabric stash: More than 100 pieces from five continents and 3,000 years of history – from the Textile Museum’s own collections, along with loans from others – illuminate how textiles embody personal, spiritual, and cultural values. It’s the museum’s largest exhibition ever, and the first in its new home at GWU.

FL / West Palm Beach 
Habatat Galleries 
Robert Mickelsen: Weapons of Peace  
Feb. 20 – Mar. 24
Glass iconoclast Robert Mickelsen describes himself as “not a gun person,” but his glass sculptures of weapons stripped of their power to destroy attest to the beauty he finds in the architecture of firearms.

IL / Chicago 
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Sarah and Joseph Belknap 
to Feb. 24
From the far reaches of outer space to the inner spaces of the human imagination, the Belknaps find inspiration – and sometimes materials such as synthetic moon dust – at the intersection of art and science. In this show, they consider the place of humans in the cosmos through works that evoke the moon’s pocked surface, exoplanets, and craters on the artists’ home planet. 

MA / Brockton 
Fuller Craft Museum
Legacy of Fire: Clay Dragon Studios Revisited
to Apr. 26 
Continuum of Innovation: Haystack Clay Selects 
Feb. 28 – Aug. 23 
The State of Clay: Pushing Boundaries 
Mar. 7 – May 24
“Legacy of Fire” is a look back at a Massachusetts clay collaborative whose influence has persisted long beyond its existence from 1976 to 1984. Nine members of the clay faculty, past or present, of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts curated “Continuum of Innovation,” choosing artists they see as contemporary pioneers; their list includes Cynthia Bringle [“Determined to Be Seen”], Chris Gustin, and Warren MacKenzie [“The Open Door”], among others. “State of Clay” presents work by 50 of Massachusetts’ finest ceramic artists. All three shows are in conjunction with NCECA 2015, March 25 – 28, in Providence, Rhode Island, an hour’s drive south. 

MD / Baltimore 
The Baltimore Museum of Art
Front Room: Dario Robleto
to Mar. 29
Dario Robleto takes a contemplative approach to unconventional materials, including fossils and broken records, and turns them into meditations on war, healing, popular culture, and love. Early sound recordings, nautical history, and space telescopes are some of the sparks behind these sculptures, prints, and cut-paper works. 

MI / Bloomfield Hills 
Cranbrook Art Museum
The Cranbrook Hall of Wonders: Artworks, Objects, and Natural Curiosities 
to Mar. 22
The “Hall of Wonders” is a contemporary take on 16th-century cabinet of curiosities displays of scientific and artistic objects intended to encompass the range of human knowledge. This installation draws on Cranbrook’s collections of art, cultural objects from around the campus, and the holdings of the Cranbrook Institute of Science. Rearrangements by artists and scholars will periodically shift the show like a kaleidoscope, changing the relationships among the objects and their settings. 

PA / Williamsport 
The Gallery at Penn College
Amanda McCavour – Line: Drawn and Stitched 
to Mar. 5
In Amanda McCavour’s work, the sewn line is no mere method of joining cloth – it’s the expressive medium, and part of the message. Her elaborate thread drawings and three-dimensional installations take on subjects such as the human body and connections to home. But the works also are about the thread itself – its strength and its perceived fragility. This show is the largest of McCavour’s work to date. 

VT / Shelburne 
Shelburne Museum
Natural Beauties: Jewelry from Art Nouveau to Now
to Mar. 8
Divided into three sections, this show considers the natural history of modern jewelry as it reflects humankind’s ever-changing relationship to the Earth. “Rare Specimens” puts works in precious metals and gems under the loupe, with examples by Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., and other creators of high-end bling. In “Second Nature,” the focus is on adornment made of organic materials, such as bone, shells, and semi-precious stones. “Biomimicry” is all about costume jewelry and the practice of re-creating forms from nature.