Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Art reader's digest

glass vase by Carlo Scarpa, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


From the New York Times last week, a review by Roberta Smith of a show of Venetian glass:

Craft.  Decorative. Functional.  Well made.  Words like these are often used to keep objects in their place, carefully segregated from the realm of art.

These may spring to mind as you (see this exhibit) ... But they will most likely be shorn of their pejorative power or simultaneously elevated and transcended, and to a revelatory extent.  If you are open to it, this exhibition can radically reshape your ideas about form, beauty, originality and art for art's sake.  Nothing could be better for a time when such concepts are often viewed with suspicion. ...

With a painting, you can ignore how it was made and cling to subject matter for meaning; these glass works force you to think about how form and process achieve meaning on their own, without a clear-cut narrative, or a hushed relationship to, say, abstraction.

Ultimately, though, a substantial narrative does emerge.  It's about discipline, curiosity and risk, and a seductive, volatile, magical medium pushed to extremes.  These objects can't help being meaningful, out of sheer force of aesthetic personality.


How nice to read such words about craft, from one of the premier art critics in the U.S.  It would be nice to read similar thoughts about fiber.  I'd be happy if somebody had those thoughts about my work.


  1. I have heard those words about my work, but not from a noted critic, nor from those who could afford to "put their money where their mouth is." Sad that fiber is not as well respected in "art circles" but happy that I can work with it and enjoy the work of others who work with fiber.

  2. And I should add that your work definitely should be receiving high praise in those "art circles" as it is also very meaningful...from another who cannot afford to put her money where her mouth is!

  3. "A narrative about discipline, curiosity, and risk" - that certainly seems to apply to your work!

  4. thanks for the kind words. I'm sure we all aspire to critical praise, but I'm really most impressed and intrigued by the remark "how form and process achieve meaning on their own" -- all of us who make work where the material and the craft are important should be thrilled to see a critic focus on this aspect of the art. While I'm all for meaning in art, I also love form and process and am always discouraged to see them denigrated by the High Art world.