Douglas Coupland Salutes Crafty Gen Yers
by Deborah Wilk | Friday, July 27, 2012
American craft continues to gain respect in visual-arts circles with both exhibitory and documentary examinations of its contemporary applications, and Smithsonian American Art Museum craft-and-decorative-arts curator Nicholas Bell’s “40 Under 40: Craft Futures” continues the trend with consummate cool.Occasioning the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery, the museum’s decorative-arts home designed by James Renwick, Jr., in 1859 and completed in 1874, the exhibition showcases the work of practitioners born since the craft program got its start in 1972.
For the show’s catalog, Yale University Press offers a slick publication bearing the same title. Bell engaged fellow Canadian Douglas Coupland, who has added visual artist and designer to his novelist designation, to write the forward. Work by the chosen 40, including Jennifer Crupi and Nick Dong, does an excellent job of raising the art-versus-design debate, with the obvious conclusion being that the work of these talents only serves to blur the categorical lines beautifully.