Crafting a Legacy: Contemporary American Crafts in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Published to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Crafting a Legacy showcases the Museum’s burgeoning collection of contemporary American crafts. More than one hundred color plates illustrate many of the Museum’s prime holdings in ceramics, wood, fiber, glass, metal, and furniture. Entries on sixty-four featured artists, including Dale Chihuly, Wharton Esherick, Sheila Hicks, and Peter Voulkos, place their work in the context of the dynamic field of American crafts. In her essay, Suzanne Ramljak discusses the valuable role that crafts play in contemporary culture and artistic practice. In a world of bland, mass-produced consumer goods and technologically mediated virtual experience, Ramljak argues that crafts—one-of-a-kind handmade objects—can reawaken our senses. In his essay, Darrel Sewell, the Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Curator of American Art, outlines the history of the crafts collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as the vital role Philadelphia has played as a center for innovation in contemporary crafts. The book also includes an illustrated checklist of the Museum’s more than three hundred holdings in contemporary crafts.

As the first book-length catalogue of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s impressive collection of contemporary American crafts, Crafting a Legacy will be of interest to artists, collectors, and all who appreciate the beauty of finely crafted handmade objects. Selections from the Museum’s American contemporary craft collection are showcased in this exhibition of ceramics, glass, fiber, metalwork, wood, and furniture pieces by both locally and nationally known artists. Crafting A Legacy runs through March 2003.
  • Hardcover, clothbound
  • 192 pages
  • 180 illustrations, 122 in color
  • Rutgers University Press, 2002
  • ISBN-10: 0-87633-161-4
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