Over the last half-century, the conversation about what international craft can be, look like, and say has evolved. Many works in this gallery connect to the postwar Studio Craft movement, which saw artists increasingly looking to traditional craft materials—like fiber, wood, ceramics, metal, and glass—and setting up individual studios. In their studios, these artists produced one-of-a-kind artworks, functional and non-functional, that masterfully demonstrated the aesthetic and conceptual possibilities of craft materials.
Today, artists are expanding craft’s boundaries to include conceptual projects, performative action, experimentation with new technologies, objects that blur boundaries with art and design, and works that critique traditional definitions of craft. In her unconventional hand-dyed and hand-quilted portrait after Sargent’s iconic painting (Madame X’s aura, after John Singer Sargent, 2009), Anna Von Mertens references aura photography, which visualizes an individual’s electromagnetic field to measure emotional energy. Boris Bally’s Fixator Armform (1995) seems less like jewelry than an avant-garde scientific contraption, as conventional values of jewelry (like adornment, fine craftsmanship, and decoration) are balanced against unusual form, function, and materials.
Above: Boris Bally, Fixator Armform, 1995. Silver, brass, re-used detour sign. Gift of the artist in honor of Ralph Düby, ‘Atelier Chef’ at Alexander Goldschmied (Basel, Switzerland), mentor and friend. Reproduced with permission.