Craft Front & Center, and Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times at Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), May 22 – February 13, 2022

Craft Front & Center

“Once at the margins of the art world, today craft is front and center in art galleries, museums, and fairs, widely recognized for its expressive potential and cultural significance. Craft Front & Center brings together more than 70 iconic and lesser-known works, assembled from the eclectic richness of the Museum’s permanent collection, to highlight key touchpoints in craft’s history that have led to the current moment.

Challenging traditional thinking of craft as separate from fine art, the exhibition reveals the field’s deep engagement in art’s major movements, such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Postmodernism, while also launching its own revolutions, particularly the elevation of women and people of color as significant artists.  
MAD’s collection comprises more than 3,000 artworks in clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood, dating from the post-war studio craft movement through to contemporary art and design. With an aim to subvert traditional hierarchies in the arts, the collection advocates for the central role of craft in art and society.” — Museum of Arts and Design

Magdalena Abakanowicz. Abakan Violet, c. 1969. Sisal, woven, 94 x 86 x 17 in. (238.8 x 218.4 x 43.2 cm.). Photo: Ed Watkins.
Olga de Amaral, Colombia, b. 1932. Muro tejido 1 (Wall Hanging 1). Probably 1969. Hand-spun wool, double woven slit tapestry, 87 x 43 in. (221 x 109.2 cm). Photo: Eva Heyd.
Sanford Biggers. Dagu, 2016. Assorted fabrics, spray paint, acrylic on antique quilts, 49 × 159 × 5 in. (124.5 × 403.9 × 12.7 cm). Photo: Jenna Bascom.
Amber Cowan. Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset, 2019. Flameworked American pressed glass, 34 × 46 × 12 1/2 in. (86.4 × 116.8 × 31.8 cm). Photo: Courtesy the artist and Heller Gallery, New York.
Viola Frey. Group Series: Questioning Woman 1, 1988. Glazed earthenware, 108 x 33 x 28 in. (274.3 x 83.8 x 71.1 cm). Photo: Eva Heyd.
Marvin Lipofsky. 1/4 Pounder with Cheese (from the Great American Food Series), 1973. Blown glass, found McDonald’s Quarter Pounder box, 10 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/8 in. (25.4 x 14 x 7.9 cm).
Photo: Ed Watkins.
Water Mammy 1, 2012. Glass beads (all bead work (Peyote Stitch) created by artist), blown glass, thread, wire, 35 1/16 x 6 1/2 x 10 1/16 in. (89 x 16.5 x 25.5 cm). Photo: Michael Koryta.
Cauleen Smith. Pigeons are Black Doves (from “In the Wake”), 2017. Textile, sequins, acrylic paint, 70 × 49 1/2 in. (177.8 × 125.7 cm).
Lenore Tawney. Jupiter, 1959. Silk, wool, wood; woven, 53 x 41 in. (134.6 x 104.1 cm). Photo: Sheldan Comfert Collins.
Peter Voulkos. Cross, 1959. Stoneware, low-fire glaze; hand-built, 30 1/2 x 23 x 10 in. (77.5 x 58.4 x 25.4 cm). Photo: Photo Ed Watkins.
Patti Warashina. Pitter-Podder, 1967. Earthenware, acrylic paint; hand-built, 25 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 9 1/2 in. (65.4 x 40 x 24.1 cm). Museum of Arts and Design, New York; gift of Johnson Wax Company, through the American Craft Council, 1977. Photo: Ed Watkins.
Betty Woodman. Indonesian Napkin Holder, 1984. Glazed earthenware; wheel-thrown, slab-built, altered, 18 1/2 x 22 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (47 x 57.2 x 26.7 cm). Photo: Eva Heyd © Woodman Family Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Craft Front & Center was organized by the Museum of Arts and Design’s entire curatorial team: Elissa Auther, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and the William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator; Barbara Paris Gifford, Associate Curator; Samantha De Tillio, Collections Curator; Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Assistant Curator; and Christian Larsen, Windgate Research Curator, with assistance from Alida Jekabson, Curatorial Assistant.

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times

“The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times. The exhibition, originating from Maine’s Portland Museum of Art, marks the first major museum survey of painter Carrie Moyer and sculptor Sheila Pepe, whose abstract works, rich with color and materiality, explore themes of craft, feminism, and queer activism.

Highlighting the artists’ individual styles and techniques, collaborative works, and new directions through more than 25 works on view, the exhibition presents their most ambitious collaboration to date. The impressively scaled Parlor for the People is a site-specific installation that reimagines the religious tradition of the tabernacle as a communal space open to all for the discussion of justice, equality, knowledge, and these ‘trying times’.” — Museum of Arts and Design

Carries a Soft Stick, 2016. Oil paint, wood, cut plastic bag, and glitter on canvas, 47 × 44 × 3 in. (119.4 × 111.7 × 7.6 cm). Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe.
Humming at the Gate, 2020. Acrylic and glitter on canvas, 90 × 108 in. (228.6 × 274.3 cm). Carrie Moyer. Photo: Alan Weiner. © Carrie Moyer.
New Blue Bontecou, 2016. Oil and acrylic paint, wood, lamp shade, fabric, aluminum, and flashing on pre-painted canvas, 50 × 42 1/4 × 9 in. (127 × 107.3 × 22.9 cm). Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe. Image courtesy Luc Demers. © the artists.

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, has been organized by the Portland Museum of Art, Maine. It was curated by Jaime DeSimone of the Portland Museum of Art and Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic, Curator of Contemporary Art. 

Images courtesy Museum of Arts and Design.