October 19, 2012
The Museum of Nebraska Art presents The Art of Living
on view through January 27, 2013
Teliza V. Rodriguez, Curator
From hand-crafted artworks to those designed and then mass produced,
The Art of Living examines the objects that inhabit our homes and adorn our bodies. A rug, book, vase, table, lamp, necklace, or garment – each work has an underpinning in the practical, yet are objects created with aesthetic intent. Featuring
works created over the last 175 years, the pieces are part of a larger tradition of “utilitarian” art. While they all carry the mark of their maker, some nonetheless push the boundaries of what we know as “functional” art.
Comprised of work created by 37 artists,
The Art of Living showcases 50 objects that are separated into six groups: wearable art and jewelry; furniture; toys and games; rugs and quilts; vessels and service ware; and books. While each group has works that are functional, also included
are those that are extensions of utilitarian thought such as Sheila Hicks' two large-scale fiber installations,
Chad Fonfara’s “vessels,” and Jake Jacobson’s teapot.
What is important is that the works highlight the changes that have occurred within the last two centuries with utilitarian
art, often works that, at one time, were not even thought of as art. This exhibition includes objects that range from those created for daily and ritual use by Plains Indians, a book by the naturalist John James Audubon, Arts and Crafts on-edge felt mosaic
rug by Jean Thiessen, to mid-20th century fused glass jewelry by Ruth Buol, and to the dynamic and elegant lamps and tables by Cedric Hartman. While the majority of the works included in
The Art of Living focus on function, the foundation within each is form, design, and craftsmanship.
Images available on request.