DAS news/Special events

Events & Exhibitions

Note: When the Decorative Arts Society receives notice of programs, exhibitions or events that occur between issues of the DAS Newsletter, we list them here as a service to those with an interest in the decorative arts. Upcoming events are listed by closing date.


Behind Closed Doors
20th Anniversary Conference on the Arts
New York, NY, and environs
September 20–23, 2018

The IAC goes behind closed doors of the 1882 Mayer-Loeb Townhouse (dining room added in 1889), a six-story monument to the Aesthetic Movement that has been restored and refurbished by Michael and Marjorie Loeb, working with David Scott Parker Architects. Marjorie Loeb, and project architect David Parker will provide insights into the project, which included filling it with pieces from Minton, Christopher Dresser and Herter Brothers.

Participants include:

Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and recipient of a DAS award;

Medill Higgins Harvey, assistant curator of American Decorative Arts, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art;

Marsha Morton, professor, Pratt Institute;

Emily M. Orr, assistant curator of modern and contemporary American design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and DAS program manager;

Jeff Richman, historian, Green-Wood Cemetery historian;

Julie L. Sloan, stained glass preservationist, consultant and authority;

Adrienne Spinozzi, assistant research curator, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art;

Janis Staggs, director of curatorial and manager of publications, Neue Galerie New York

Beth Carver Wees, Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art;

Samuel G. White, FAIA, LEED AP, partner at PBDW Architects and Stanford White’s great-grandson, who is leading an effort to restore the former NYU library, donated to the institution by Jay Gould’s eldest daughter Helen and considered Stanford White’s most important building.

Fashion and Conflict in Early America: An Historic Deerfield Symposium
Historic Deerfield
Historic Deerfield, MA
September 28–30, 2018

This symposium explores the impact of conflict on clothing and textiles in defining the culture of British and French North America in the 18th century. Details were featured in the spring 2018 DAS Newsletter.

Topics may include military influences on dress and accessories of European colonists, intercultural conflicts, personal/moral/legislative conflict, European fashions in the New World, conservation and display conflicts.

Material Culture and the Holocaust
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, DC
October 4, 2018

This event features keynote speaker Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls, holocaust archeologist, and includes three panels concerning the varied methods, new research and developing technologies to interpret traumatically scarred objects.

Registration is free: https://www.ushmm.org/online/calendar/eventDetails.php?event=MCHMATCULTHOL1018. For more information, contact Jennifer Cashin: jcashin@ushmm.org or phone at 603-325-2686.


20th-Century American Jewelry from a Promised Gift of Toni Wolf Greenbaum
Yale University Art Gallery
New Haven, NJ
Through August 26, 2018

This installation of 16 pieces of American studio jewelry from the 1930s to the present day is a promised gift from Toni Wolf Greenbaum, a New York–based art historian specializing in 20th- and 21st-century jewelry and metalwork. She is the author of Messengers of Modernism: American Studio Jewelry, 1940–1960 and is writing a monograph on modernist jeweler Sam Kramer. Greenbaum has lectured internationally and curated exhibitions for several museums. She is also an associate professor at the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY) where she teaches a course in theory and criticism of contemporary jewelry.

The pieces on view are made from a variety of substances, including aluminum, brass, enamel, paint, plastic, repurposed objects, silver and tin. They demonstrate techniques such as hammering, chasing, assembling, anodizing, patinating and mokume gane (a Japanese metalworking technique that uses mixed metals to produce a layered pattern resembling wood grain). The gift brings new artists to the gallery’s collection, including Harriete Estel Berman, Peter Macchiarini and Art Smith.

Earth and Sky: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby
Rockwell Museum
Corning, NY
Through September 4, 2018

Geology meets chemistry in this exhibition of abstract ceramic landscapes by artist and educator Wayne Higby. The exhibition explores the forms, techniques and firing processes that Higby has used throughout his career, including work in raku earthenware and porcelain.

Since the early 1970s, Higby has explored the fusion of form and surface through panoramic landscape vistas. This exhibition creates a dialogue between contemporary ceramic works and the Rockwell Museum’s collection of 19th-century Hudson River School landscapes. Landscape imagery covers both the interiors and exteriors of Higby’s series of large ceramic bowls. After visiting China in 1991, he began using porcelain with celadon glazes to create tile-sculpture that alludes to the natural environment.

Higby is a ceramic artist and educator. He is the Wayne Higby Director and Chief Curator of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum and professor of ceramic art at Alfred University. His artwork is in the permanent collections of art museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), National Art Museum of China (Beijing), Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo, Japan) and Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia).

He is also an honorary professor of art at Shanghai University and the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, as well as founding director of the ALFRED-CAFA program in ceramic design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing, China). In 2004, he became the first foreign national to be named an honorary citizen of the “porcelain city“ of Jingdezhen. He is a member of honor of the United States National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), life trustee of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and vice president emeritus of the International Academy of Ceramics (Geneva, Switzerland).

Higby is a published authority on ceramic art. He is the recipient of both the Master of the Media and the Distinguished Educator Awards from the James Renwick Alliance, Smithsonian Institution, and of the Museum of Arts and Design’s Visionary Award.

Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby, a  retrospective book based on a 2013 exhibition of the same name, has been published by Arnoldsche (Stuttgart, Germany. Another book on Wayne Higby’s work and his project EarthCloud — the largest hand-cut porcelain, architectural installation in the world — was recently published by Arnoldsche.

Worlds Within: Mimbres Painted Bowls
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, IL
Through September 8, 2019

Worlds Within: Mimbres Painted Bowls explores the tradition of painted pottery produced in west-central New Mexico from about 1000 to 1130. The bowls present a variety of subject matter, including geometric compositions, depictions of local fauna, scenes from daily life and presumed mythological narratives that appear surreal. The exhibition, featuring approximately 70 of f Mimbres pottery, reveals the bowls’ formal logic and explores possible interpretations of their figurative scenes.

Surface/Depth: The Decorative after Miriam Schapiro
Museum of Art and Design
New York, NY
Through September 9, 2018

Surface/Depth features 29 works by Miriam Schapiro and 28 works by contemporary artists, including Sanford Biggers, Josh Blackwell, Edie Fake, Jeffrey Gibson, Judy Ledgerwood, Jodie Mack, Sara Rahbar, Ruth Root and Jasmin Sian, whose work is influenced by Shapiro.

Schapiro was the pioneering feminist artist and founding member of the Pattern and Decoration movement, but the impact of her oeuvre on contemporary art has yet to be fully acknowledged or critically assessed.

Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Houston, TX
Through September 16, 2018

Showcasing 65 examples including furniture and design experiments, this exhibition features a number of Joris Laarman’s designs from the collection of the MFAH. Organized by the Groninger Museum, Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age explores the qualities of Laarman’s work, both esthetically and technologically. With engineers, programmers and craftspeople at the Joris Laarman Lab, which was founded in 2004 by the designer and his partner and filmmaker Anita Star, Laarman creates projects that re-imagine traditional forms.

La Frontera: Encounters along the Border
Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)
New York, NY
Through September 23, 2018

This international exhibition of contemporary jewelry explores the U.S.–Mexico border as a landscape of human interaction through the work of 48 artists from the United States, Latin America and Europe. The 62 pieces on display incorporate a diversity of materials, from metal, fiber and wood to medical equipment, pieces of green card, and the caps of water bottles.

The first iteration of the exhibition traveled to four venues in Mexico and the U.S. in 2013–14. It has been updated for the current cultural moment.

Highlights include:

No-Man’s Land, a brooch by Judy McCaig, incorporates steel, silver, tombac, Perspex, paint, Herkimer diamond and taramita.

Julia Turner’s Three Days Walking (Mourning Brooch) is based on warning maps that show the dangers of crossing the border through the desert on foot. The brooch makes reference to Victorian mourning jewelry, which often contains a remnant of hair from the loved one who died.

Made with canvas and polyester thread, Raquel Bessudo’s necklace La Bestia references the network of cargo trains that illegally carry immigrants seeking to cross into the U.S.

Comprising hand jewels and a necklace, Aline Berdichevsky’s Lightvessels 2 pays homage to the women of the rural Mexican town of La Patrona, who wait for La Bestia every afternoon and throw water and food to the immigrants as the train passes through.

Cristina Celis’s Dactilar pendants reflect what people are willing to do to their own bodies for the sake of staying in the U.S. 

With her brooch Reconstructed: Framed, Demitra Thomloudis attempts to make sense of the separation between countries through the lens of jewelry.

Kevin Hughes’s untitled necklace, made from detritus of jug handles, references the plastic jugs of water left by aid workers along the border as life-saving oases.

Kristin Beeler’s necklace Descanso 2, highway 86, is made of iron wire and nylon cord, and signifies the humanity and honor of the migrants who have died.

Martha Vargas’s silver necklace Sueño y Realidad makes a connection between immigrants and the monarch butterfly migration that begins in March.

Pioneering Women in Craft
Craft in America Center
Los Angeles, CA
Varying dates

The Craft in America Center is celebrating the contributions of pioneering women in craft with a line-up of exhibitions for 2018, presenting work by female artists who redefined materials, techniques and conceptual expression.

Women have always played an integral role in the development of studio crafts. Although female artists have been at the forefront of the craft dialogue as makers and theoreticians, and instrumental in the establishment of craft organizations and institutions, their contributions have frequently been overshadowed by those of their male counterparts.

Kiff Slemmons: More than One to Make One
Craft in America
Los Angeles, VA
Through October 6, 2018

Kiff Slemmons draws on historical, cultural and literary references while redefining decorative and historic traditions to combine handcrafted components with manipulated found objects. The exhibition features her paper jewelry executed during her residencies at Taller Arte Papel (Oaxaca, Mexico).

Recent DAS events

See our current newsletter (fall 2017) for coverage of recent DAS tours.

DAS spends "A Weekend in Rochester and Corning, NY" with artist studio tours, gallery exhibitions and tours, and more.

The Decorative Arts Society held a fascinating weekend in Rochester and Corning, NY, in November 2017 that included guided tours of the studio and archive of Albert Paley, among the most innovative metalsmiths working today; the Memorial Art Gallery's Wendell Castle Remastered, the first museum exhibition to examine the digitally crafted works of Wendell Castle, acclaimed figure of the American studio and art furniture movements – especially poignant given Castle's recent death; the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) Tiffany’s Glass Mosaics exhibition with co-curators Kelly Conway, curator of American glass at CMoG, and Lindsy Parrott, director and curator of the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and a former DAS officer; CMoG's European Gallery with Kit Maxwell, curator of European glass at CMoG; CMoG's Modern and Contemporary galleries with Alexandra Ruggiero, assistant curator at Corning; the Juliette and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library with library staff; and Rochester's George Eastman Museum with Kathy Connor, Eastman legacy curator,

Participants also had free time to explore other MG and Corning collections, displays and shops, and enjoyed meals together in both Rochester and Corning.

The spring 2018 DAS newsletter will provide tour highlights and images.

February 2016 DAS tour features Georgia museum exhibition, Green Symposium and private collections

The DAS brightened the dreary days of February by offering contributors a private, curator-led tour of the decorative arts collections of the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA) organized just for the DAS, followed by participation in the Henry D. Green Symposium on southern decorative arts (Athens, GA) and tours of private collections.
The group gathered at the High Museum and traveled by motor coach to Athens, GA, to attend the two-day symposium and enjoy private collection visits arranged especially for the DAS.
The trip concluded with a visit to the home of renowned collector William N. Banks in Newnan, GA.
Details of this exciting event are featured in the spring 2016 issue of the DAS newsletter. The newsletter is a benefit of contributing to the DAS.

DAS tours Chicago symposium, exhibition and private collections

The DAS enjoyed a fascinating weekend in Chicago in March 2015, with tours and collections visits to the Art Institute of Chicago and private collections.

Activities included a tour of Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840, led by Christopher Monkhouse, the institute's Eloise W. Martin Chair and curator of European Decorative Arts. This loan exhibition highlights 300 objects that explore the culture of Ireland during the 18th century.

We also heard Stella Tillyard, author of The Aristocrats, deliver the keynote address for the related symposium Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840, and attended other lectures in the symposium. Topics and speakers included "Buying and Selling: The Transfer of Art in and out of Ireland," Robert O’Byrne, independent scholar, author of Romantic Irish Homes (2009) and The Last Knight, A Tribute to Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin (2013); "Irish Furniture," James Peill, co-author (with the Knight of Glin) of Irish Furniture (2007) and curator of the Goodwood Estate; "Patina, Pomp and Prestige: Silver in Ireland, 1690–1840," Alison FitzGerald, lecturer, National University of Ireland, Maynooth; "Burned with Turf: The Unique Charm of Irish Ceramics and the Myths of Irish Glass," Peter Francis, independent scholar and author of Irish Delftware (2000); and closing remarks by Julian Sands, actor and Irish silver collector.

Among the private tours was one of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, commissioned in 1879 by the Chicago banker Samuel Nickerson and recently restored by the philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, with a greeting from Lise Dubé-Scherr, executive director. This is one of the most sumptuous Gilded Age mansions in America. After the tour, we had the opportunity to view the exhibition Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry.

We also viewed an exquisite private collection of decorative arts and conversed with the owners, and saw a distinguished private collection of Americana in downtown Chicago.

Further details are in the fall 2015 issue of the DAS Newsletter.

Past DAS events

For a listing of past DAS events, click on the date links at the right of the Events section. (The listings will be updated shortly.)