March 2012

Crafting Modernism, Midcentury American Art and Design

Abrams Books

  • 115 West 18th Street, 6th Floor
  • New York , NY


Crafting Modernism, Midcentury American Art and Design is an exhibit currently on view at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York. This catalogue serves as a companion to the exhibit and covers every area of modern art and design, with iconic images taken from the world of fine art, furniture, ceramics, jewelry, and textiles.

The book covers the time period between the postwar years through the many changes that took place in the 1960s, when the distinct traditions of fine art, craft, and design that were once very clear became blurred.

Many university programs at the time were offering programs in ceramics, fiber, metal, wood, and glass. The handmade aesthetic was becoming prominent. Designers/artists such as Anni Albers, Alexander Calder, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Sam Maloof, and George Nakashima, among many others, are featured in the book.

Some of the essays exploring the many aspects of Crafting Modernism are:

"Craft is Art" by Jeannine Falino

"The Hand That Helped the Machine" by Donald Albrecht

"An 'Exploding Craft Market' 1945–1969" by Caroline M. Hannah

Other subjects covered are midcentury silversmithing and enameling, the studio jewelry movement, and working with wood and studio glass. A list of resources such as artists and advocates (including biographies of all the artists/designers in the exhibit), schools, workshops, museums, professional associations, galleries, and retailers is included for further information and study.

Crafting Modernism is a beautifully designed book/catalogue that is packed full of information and photos of some of the most innovative art and crafted objects of our recent past. The book is a great addition to any professional library.

Reviewed by FIDM Library Staff Member Cynthia Aaron