ALLIED CRAFTSMEN TODAY opens June 15 at Mingei International Museum, featuring over 100 pieces never before exhibited, made by members of one of the few remaining craftsmen’s groups in the nation. The exhibition showcases recent work by 37 of the current members of the Allied Craftsmen of San Diego. Juried and curated by Director Rob Sidner and Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Christine Knoke, the exhibition demonstrates the continuing vitality of the group, one of many that proliferated in the post-World-War-II era. It includes a wide variety of work – from the functional to the sculptural – created by ceramists, metalsmiths and makers of adornment, wood craftsmen and furniture makers, fiber artists and those using mixed media.
Many similar collectives of artist craftsmen were formed around the country in a resurgence of interest in traditional crafts right after World War II. Founded in 1947, the Allied Craftsmen of San Diego now has 68 active members. The group, many of whose earliest members were featured in the Museum’s 2011 exhibition SAN DIEGO’S CRAFT REVOLUTION – From Post War Modern to California Design, has fostered a community of mutual support and inspiration. The influence of this cohort on the arts of the San Diego region has been significant, and continues to extend beyond their own creative output through the students they teach.
“ALLIED CRAFTSMEN TODAY recognizes and applauds this group’s quiet, continuous and extraordinarily rich contributions to the visual arts in San Diego,” says Mingei Director Rob Sidner. “It is a pleasure to present to a wider public the excellent creative output of these influential yet too-little recognized artists of our region.”
At the founding of the Allied Craftsmen of San Diego two generations ago, the influence of the significant ceramic, furniture and metalwork programs at San Diego State University were reflected in the work of many in the group. The same holds true today, with the current membership of artist craftsmen representing both SDSU graduates and faculty members. Richly varied educational backgrounds and experiences are found among other members of the group, with graduate, teaching and studio connections to area and regional academic and craft centers and beyond, including: California College of Arts and Crafts, the Claremont Colleges, the Rhode Island School of Design, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Philadelphia College of Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology and several others.
Many of the featured artist craftsmen have significant solo exhibition resumes and are represented in important museum and private collections. The show will be on view until January 5, 2014.