SOFA CHICAGO 2012 / Essays
Ann Savageau's BAG Project: Design/Art Activism and the
Plastic Bag Problem
Plastic bags are a scourge on the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that worldwide use of plastic bags ranges from 500 billion to one trillion plastic shopping bags annually. Barely recyclable (less than 1% are recycled), they are discarded in huge numbers, clogging landfills and entering marine ecosystems with disastrous results. Marine animals suffer particularly from plastic bag pollution when they become entangled or ingest small plastic particles that are suspended in the water as the bags fall apart...
Queen Anne's Lace
“Gothic” is a strange epithet with a layered history, evoking images of death, destruction, and decay, the power of horror and the erotic macabre. The term, which derives from the Goths and Visigoths of antiquity, was first applied to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, then to the Victorian era’s Gothic Revival, and now generally to literary and cinematic genres that glorify the allure of mystery, terror, and the supernatural. This preoccupation with the dark side persists today in goth subculture, gothic rock and heavy metal, and the so-called “New Gothic Art...”
The 7th International Triennial of Contemporary Textile Arts in Tournai, Belgium and the 2011 Miniartextil exhibition in Como, Italy shared one striking recurring theme: the importance of site; both the exhibition venue as a dramatic setting for the display of textile art, as well as the idea that location is an overriding source of inspiration for many artists. These exhibitions come at a time when Europe, at least as a cohesive cultural and economic entity, is increasingly in doubt. As the Mayor of Tournai, Christian Massy, observed in his catalogue introduction, “At a time when nationalism, tinged with greatly varying populist ideas, is unfortunately gaining ground within our continent, culture would seem to be the ideal vehicle for discovering Europe and the world....
SOFA CHICAGO 2012 is the world hot spot for international studio glass art. The American Studio Glass Movement is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and the acclaimed art and design fair at Navy Pier will be center-stage.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the intersection of art and design than the American Studio Glass Movement, which had its humble beginnings in a storage shed on the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio, in 1962 with two historic workshops organized by Harvey K. Littleton, a ceramics professor at the University of Wisconsin, and Dominick Labino, research scientist and vice president of Toledo’s Johns-Mansville glass plant....
Junko Narita’s dolls are not only exquisite works of art, but they are also a revealing look into Japanese culture. In Japanese, the word “doll” is written using the characters for “human” and “form.” In this respect, its meaning is quite different the from Western interpretation of these words, in which ”doll” is a figure that evokes a “fantasy”....
Charlotte V. Wainwright
The Collectors of Wood Art (CWA) are pleased to present their sixth special exhibit for SOFA CHICAGO. Beginning in 2002 with Collectors Choice, CWA has pursued its mission to elevate wood art “to the stature of fine art.” This ambitious undertaking began well; the first presentation included work selected by CWA board members, curators, collectors and gallery directors whose cumulative choices presented 25 artists “doing the best and most innovative work in the [wood] field. Sam Maloof and Wendell Castle were also honored by inclusion. Collectors Choice produced a vivid snapshot of established and emerging wood artists that set a standard for future exhibitions. ...