Shows to See: October / November 2017

Shows to See: October / November 2017

Published on Thursday, October 12, 2017. This article appears in the October/November 2017 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
Sharon Doughtie Sculpture

Sharon Doughtie at Fuller Craft Museum

Courtesy of the artist

Ladies and/or Gentlemen: Outdated gender lines are blurred or ignored this fall at the Renwick Gallery in DC, Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts, and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

AZ / Phoenix
Heard Museum
Awa Tsireh: Pueblo Painter and Metalsmith
Nov. 3 – Jul. 15 
Awa Tsireh (1898 – 1955), a member of the San Ildefonso Pueblo tribe, first earned renown through his paintings. But he also had a lively metal-working practice, specializing in silver brooches and stamp-worked trays of silver and copper. This show draws work from museums and collections across the country.

CA / Inglewood
Branch Gallery for the Fiber Arts
Fiber Trails 
Oct. 7 – Nov. 3
Wherever Cameron Taylor-Brown lands in her travels – Bhutan, Peru, India, the Galápagos Islands – she gravitates to other fiber artists, whose cultures, methods, and aesthetics inspire her own weaving, mixed-media fiber collage, and installations. Eighteen are on view here.

CA / Pomona
American Museum of Ceramic Art
We the People: Serving Notice
to Dec. 30 
Nearly 80 artists go head-to-head with the most divisive issues of our times – racism, immigration, capital punishment, gender equality, violence, and the state of the planet – in works that are reflective, documentary, and provocative.

CA / San Diego
Mingei International Museum
Arline Fisch: One of a Kind
to Jan. 7
Knit, crochet, weave, braid: In the masterful hands of Arline Fisch, techniques from the world of textiles transform metal into gorgeous adornments. Here, 30 necklaces, brooches, pendants, buckles, and other objects reflect the inspiration the artist gleans from travel, art history, and Southern California, where she has lived for more than 50 years.

DC / Washington
Renwick Gallery
Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
Oct. 20 – Jan. 28
Francis Glessner Lee, the “godmother of forensic science,” was the first female police captain in the United States and a gifted artist who applied traditionally female craft skills to further a male-dominated field. In the early 1940s, she began constructing miniature dioramas of crime scenes to help investigators sharpen their powers of observation and deduction. The artist overlooked no detail: She knit wee stockings on straight pins, filled tiny cigarette butts with real tobacco, curled calendar pages just so, and positioned bullet holes and blood spatters intentionally and precisely. Each of these 19 meticulously crafted environments doubles as social history, a sharp-eyed glimpse of midcentury life and death.

MA / Brockton
Fuller Craft Museum
Gender Bend: Women in Wood, Men at the Loom
Oct. 21 – Mar. 11 
Once upon a time, boys took wood shop and girls took home ec, where they learned to work with cloth. This show gives a happy ending to that old story of rigid roles and rules, with works of art by contemporary artists who are free to work in the mediums they choose.

MO / St. Louis
Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design
Howard Jones: Think Rethink 
to Oct. 22
The right tool makes any job easier. If the task at hand is reimagining the nature and function of tools, then Howard Jones has just the thing. His paintbrushes might be tipped with pencils, a hoof, a grenade – anything but bristles – in keeping with his mission to transform utilitarian objects into impractical, witty mindbenders.

NJ / Newark
Newark Museum
Nov. 4 – ongoing 
To honor the retirement of longtime decorative arts curator Ulysses Dietz, the Newark Museum has given ceramic artist Molly Hatch her biggest commission yet: a huge tripartite installation inspired by textiles in the museum’s collection from 20th-century Ivory Coast, 18th-century China, and 19th-century New Jersey.

NY / New York City
American Folk Art Museum
War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics 
to Jan. 7
Some of the 29 quilts in this show may have been pieced by wounded soldiers as occupational therapy. Others were stitched as gifts or simply to pass the time. All were made by men in wartime, out of uniforms, blankets, and any other fabric that could be spared: artifacts of human creativity at work in the darkest hours. This is the first show in the US to focus on these quilts.

PA / Philadelphia
Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Nov. 9 – 12
Each year, this show, now in its 41st iteration, features work by artists from a specially invited country. Twenty-five artists from Korea will join the 195 from the US this year who made it through the highly competitive jury process.

TX / Houston
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
For Hire: Contemporary Sign Painting in America
to Jan. 7
Faythe Levine and Sam Macon wrote the book on the resurgence of handpainted signs – and made a documentary film of the same name (Sign Painters) – to chronicle the craftsmanship, heart, and daring that go into hand-wrought commercial signage. Now, they curate this exhibition of banners, sandwich boards, murals, and signs on paper by painters from across the country; visitors can see some signs painted on the spot.

WA / Bellevue
Bellevue Arts Museum
Humaira Abid: Searching for Home
to Mar. 25
In her first US solo museum show, Seattle artist Humaira Abid, a native of Pakistan, explores the meaning of home in an era of enormous human displacement. Known for confronting cultural norms and gender roles in her detailed wood sculptures and miniature paintings, the artist here has installed seven sculptural stations that form a narrative about women refugees’ search for a home.