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Indepth Arts News:

"The White House Collection of American Crafts"
2003-07-18 until 2003-08-24
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Evanston, IL, USA United States of America

This summer, an historic exhibition -- "The White House Collection of American Crafts" (July 18 to Aug. 24) -- will be on view in the Main Gallery of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on the Northwestern University Evanston campus. Assembled in 1993 under the auspices of President and Mrs. William J. Clinton, the White House Collection reflects the nationís longstanding tradition of craft making and the richness and diversity of an important aspect of American artistic heritage. The 70 works in the traveling exhibition display the skill, imagination and vitality characteristic of crafts in the 1990s during the most industrialized century of our history. Using glass, wood, clay, fiber and metal, artists skillfully manipulate materials in inventive ways. Their commitment to craft reflects an ongoing passion for the intimate, physical qualities of the handmade object. This collection stands as a testimony to the value of works of the human hand. Despite the nationís increasing reliance on technology, the intimate and physical qualities of the handmade object have never had more appeal.

Related to the White House exhibition is a 128-page catalogue. "The White House Collection of American Crafts" (New York, 1995), published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., includes 92 full-color photographs of the entire collection, in addition to several settings in public and private rooms of the White House. It features an essay by Michael Monroe, the exhibition curator; a foreword by Elizabeth Broun, director of the National Museum of American Art; and an opening statement by former First Lady and current U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. The catalogue will be available for purchase in the Block Museum shop in mid-July, during the summer exhibition.

Designated by a Joint Resolution of Congress and a Presidential Proclamation signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1993, the "Year of American Craft: A Celebration of the Creative Works of the Hand" was intended to encourage appreciation of the broad spectrum of crafts in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Congress stated in its resolution: "Through craft, we commemorate the multi-cultural heritage of our nation and pay tribute to

The following White House exhibition-related events are free and open to the public:
- Artistsí Gallery Talks. Artists from the show will give brief gallery talks on their work and the medium in which they create their crafts. At 6 p.m. Thursday, July 24, Ellen Kochansky will talk about fiber and Josh Simpson will discuss glass. At 1 p.m. Thursday, July 31, Patrick Dragon will talk about ceramics and Thomas Markusen will focus on metal.
- Docent-led public tours of "The White House Collection of American Crafts" exhibition are scheduled at 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday from July 19 to Aug. 24. Reservations are not required. To schedule a group tour, call Sheetal Prajapati at (847) 491-4852.

The final week of "The White House Collection of American Crafts" exhibition corresponds with the annual American Craft Exposition and sale (Aug. 22 to 24) at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, 2311 Campus Drive, on Northwestern Universityís Evanston campus. (For more on the American Craft Exposition, sponsored by The Auxiliary of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, call (847) 570-5095 or go to the American Craft Exposition Web site at www.americancraftexpo.org).

"The White House Collection of American Crafts" exhibition is made possible, in part, with the support from The Auxiliary of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. For the past 19 years, the auxiliary has sponsored the American Craft Exposition. This summer the auxiliary has expanded its commitment to the appreciation and study of crafts and has partnered with Northwesternís Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art to bring the White House exhibition to the Chicago area.

Dante Marioni,
Yellow Pair, 1993,
Reprinted from The White House Collection of American Crafts by Michael W. Monroe.
Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. All rights reserved.

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