Working Wildenhain

Almost exactly two years ago the Frans Wildenhain exhibition at RIT and its accompanying book debuted. Keeping the spirit of the project alive, the Journal of the American Art Pottery Association last week published my article, “From Garage to Gallery: Legitimizing Mid-Century Craft at America House and Shop One” (Summer 2014 issue, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 16-21).

The article argues that commercialization of Craft, through two retail stores, America House in Manhattan and Shop One in Rochester, helped legitimize and enhance Craft’s credibility.

Many, many people supported the Wildenhain Project in diverse ways. They are all identified in Frans Wildenhain, 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century. Copies of the book are still available.

For the JAAPA article, several people facilitated the most recent exposure for the Wildenhain Project.

Working on the Project as a freelance photographer, A. Sue Weisler created original photography. Her beautiful images appear throughout the book and also accompany the JAAPA article. Too, while wearing her RIT University News hat, Sue provided images that accompanied press releases and the dozens and dozens of media placements for the Project. Thanks, Sue!

Two professionals at RIT Archive, Jody Sidlauskas and Becky Simmons, reviewed and pulled together archival images that contextualize elements for the JAAPA article as well as for the book and for the informational posters hanging at the exhibition. Thanks, Jody and Becky!

I interviewed scores of people for the Wildenhain Project. Several are cited in the article, many more offered contributions and background information on one element or another about the Project.

Barbara Cowles has forgotten more about Shop One than I’ll ever know. I interviewed her two years before the exhibit took place and the book was published and she remains a valuable source of information and a friend to this day. Thanks, Barbara!

Paul Rankin and Peter Gerbic assisted the Project in deeply significant ways. I remain in their debt. Thanks Paul and Peter!

Colleagues from across RIT offered enthusiastic support for the Project and are acknowledged in the book. Here I note the continuing support of Dean James Winebrake (College of Liberal Arts) and Associate Provost (and now my boss!) Dr. Lynn Wild (The Wallace Center).

Thinking forward just a couple of months, Shop One’s legacy will live on. Wendy Marks and Betsy Murkett are organizing an exhibition, “Shop One: Then and Now,” for RIT’s Bevier Gallery that will be on view 13 October to 8 November 2014, with an opening reception on October 17, 4-6 p.m.

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