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Objects and Meaning


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M. Anna Fariello is an independent curator with Curatorial InSight and on the faculty of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech. She is a former Renwick Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art; a Fulbright scholar to Latin America, and material culture co-chair for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2003. Paula Owen has been the Director of the Southwest School of Art & Craft in San Antonio, Texas, since 1996 and is former Director of the Hand Workshop Art Center in Richmond, Virginia. She has served on several national and regional boards and panels, including visual arts panels for the National Endowment for the Arts.


The crux of Objects and Meaning is to examine approaches to and meaning of recent artist-made objects. 'Though most of the discourse since mid-century has revolved around the split between art and craft, our personal interest extended to other facets of the topic,' explain the editors. Those explorations are grouped into three categories - historical contexts, cultural systems (theories about the cultural position of artist-made objects), and theoretical frames (new ways to look at craft and artist-made objects). The contributors include artists, critics, and museum professionals. * Museum News *
What is the place of craft within an art-historical continuum? What are the 'institutional systems' that have separated craft from art? Are craft artists doomed to perpetual second-class status in the art world and have they contributed to it by sheltering themselves within their own insular institutions? What are different ways of 'reading' the craft object? These are among the questions addressed in this anthology of essays... * American Craft *
Anna Fariello and Paula Owen's Objects and Meaning presents 13 provocative essays on the history, production, and analysis of aesthetic three-dimensional objects....The collection is well documented and full of such wry observations as John Perraeault's 'art making that is a hobby is the art that is free'...Overall, the ideas and arguments put forward in Objects and Meaning will surely, as the editors claim, 'continue to inform our view of artist-made objects' well into the 21st century. * Sculpture *
It is useful, patchy, and earnest.... * Crafts *
How do art and craft relate to each other and, more important, what can they do to the artist? In this collection of 13 essays, contributors focus on these questions and how they influence and are influenced by gender, economics, and society (critic and patron). They describe the historical contexts, including critical approaches and the pursuit of the avant-garde among American craftspeople, cultural systems that inform power and move beyond the binary in terms of debate and dialog, affectivity and entropy within production aesthetics in contemporary structure, and theoretical frames, such as how one "reads" the language of objects, feminism and knowledge within craft, subjectivity, workmanship, and evolutionary biology and its implications for craft. * Reference and Research Book News, August 2006 *

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