San Diego's Craft Revolution
WhereMingei International Museum
San Diego, CA
WhenThrough April 15, 2012
The Southern California region experienced a quantum leap in creative energy, collaboration, and artistic output in the years immediately following the second World War. San Diego’s Craft Revolution presents a comprehensive survey of this county’s unique and prominent contribution to that revolution as part of the major statewide exhibition program, Pacific Standard Time:Art in L.A. 1945-1980.
Immediately following World War II, a distinct local culture began to emerge in San Diego, one that moved away from the historical revivalism of the Arts & Crafts movements in favor of the newest trends in modernist design. At the core of this craft renaissance for the next three decades was the artists collective, the Allied Craftsmen, which fostered social interaction and exhibition opportunities for a number artists working in a variety of media.
Through a large selection of examples from 60 different artists, San Diego’s Craft Revolution traces the genesis and evolution of craft-making from the mid-20th century through the late 1970s. A number of artists on display gained national prominence, not only through exhibiting their works in annual shows at the Fine Arts Gallery (now the San Diego Museum of Art), but in the triennial California Design exhibitions in the L.A. area.
Among the artists represented in San Diego’s Craft Revolution are Toza and Ruth Radakovich, Rhoda Lopez, Jack Hopkins, Arline Fisch, Martha Longenecker, Ellamarie and Jackson Woolley, Larry Hunter, Kay Whitcomb, and James Hubbell. Works by them and others include furniture, ceramics, décor, textiles, jewelry, sculpture, and items for personal use.
Although the postwar crafts movement largely petered out by 1979 as the region’s fine arts museums ceased regular exhibitions of their work, the movement’s legacy lives on thanks in part to cultural institutions like the Mingei Museum that continue to provide a forum to support and inspire current and future craft artists.