American values, inclusion explored in new museum exhibit at Auburn University


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After a spectacular debut at the famed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, “Crafting America” ​​will be on display at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University from Tuesday June 29 through Sunday September 12. .

The new exhibit, curated by the Crystal Bridges Museum, celebrates the craftsmanship and individuality of craftsmanship within the broad context of American art, from jewelry to furniture to sculpture and more. While many works come from the organizing museum, several others are on loan from private collections and large institutions such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA.

With 90 works in ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass and other unexpected materials, “Crafting America” ​​presents a diverse and inclusive history of American craftsmanship from the 1940s to the present day. Esteemed artists include Sonya Clark, Beatrice Wood, Shan Goshorn, Nick Cave, and Maria Martinez.

“The artists featured in Crafting America explore through their creativity what can often be complicated notions of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness for those who have struggled to obtain or have been denied these civil rights,” said Cindi Malinick, director and chief curator of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts. “And the opportunity to partner with Crystal Bridges, one of the country’s leading museums, and to open a dialogue on campus through art about our similarities and differences and where these perspectives intersect to foster understanding, is an honor. It is an important viewing for our time.

Handicrafts have long been a field accessible to the greatest number of individuals, offering an opportunity to explore personal creativity, innovation and technical skills. This exhibit showcases diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the craft, from the vital contributions of Indigenous artists to the new skills and perspectives brought by women and immigrants to the United States.

“The craft is relevant,” said Malinick. “You probably have a craft item with a personal connection – an heirloom quilt or a beloved handmade piece of furniture. In addition to the images of these treasures, we will include their stories of students, alumni, donors and visitors in an interactive gallery space and as a digital feature, Share your craft story. “

Major works from Auburn’s collection will complete the loaned objects, featuring artists Jiha Moon and Yamada Kensuke.

A multi-author illustrated research publication published by Crystal Bridges and the University of Arkansas Press is available in the museum store for $ 49.95. Artworks from regional artists and designers are also available for purchase.

Other works on display until September 12 include “Outside In,” an interdisciplinary exhibition with the Auburn Museum of Natural History featuring works on paper by Audubon and specimens of flowering plants. In addition, the land is open with outdoor sculptures, water games and landscaped walking trails, with the monumental interactive sculpture “Down Where Paradise Lay” by Patrick Dougherty.

“Crafting America” is organized by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The national tour is sponsored by the Windgate Foundation.

This exhibition was made possible in part by a large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom. Additional support comes from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Located at 901 South College Street in Auburn, Alabama, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is closed for gallery change but will reopen on June 29. Normal hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting June 29. For more information visit

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