Thinking Through Craft Paperback – 31 Oct 2007
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'At a time when technical skill has been widely dismissed or outsourced in the production of art, Glenn Adamson crucially adds an entire spectrum of hand-crafted objects to the creative history of the post-war era. And at a time when theoretical frameworks have stagnated, these objects, in his hands, bring with them a fresh and sophisticated set of interpretive perspectives.' Thomas Crow, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University 'Adamson asks provocative questions about the marginalization of craft within the discourse of modernism. Best of all, he writes with a lucidity, energy and engagement that takes the reader with him all the way.' Pennina Barnett, Goldsmiths College, University of London 'A highly original contribution, Thinking through Craft is both thoughtful and exacting about crafted objects and the lessons provided by the artists' time, labor and material inventiveness.' Modern Painters 'A pathbreaking book" Elissa Auther, University of Colorado Throughout Thinking Through Craft, Adamson offers such provocative readings of both fine art and craft history that are likely to instigate radical new ways of thinking about each. Maria Elena Buszek, for Surface Design This book is ... full of thoughtful and pertinent analysis and achieves an impressive theoretical take on the role of studio craft within the history of modern art. The Journal of William Morris Studies A thoughtful, exciting and well-written book that touches on so many interesting ideas concerning craft. Museum Anthropology Review
About the Author
Glenn Adamson is Deputy Head of Research and Head of Graduate Studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he leads a graduate program in the History of Design. He holds degrees in Art History from Cornell University (BA) and from Yale University (PhD). Dr. Adamson was previously curator at the Chipstone Foundation, and in that capacity prepared exhibitions at the Milwaukee Art Museum and taught Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the co-editor (with Tanya Harrod and Edward S. Cooke, Jr.) of the Journal of Modern Craft, the only academic journal in the subject area, which will launch in March 2008.
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It gives you the necessary conceptual references to understand craft in the contemporary scenario, all backed up by sound examples of practicing artist and artisans.
A must read book along with The Craft Reader from the same author.
For me, after years mining for this kind of information, it is a kind of relief to have found these books in a field where rarely books of this magnitude appears.
Very few pictures illustrate the points made by the author. For a visual learner, it was almost impossible to maintain interest for this reason. (even links to appropriate websites or a dedicated website would have helped.) My understanding was that this was written as a doctoral thesis, but when it was published images should have been added to complement the text. The copyright issues surrounding images can be challenging, but not overwhelming obstacles.
"Thinking Through Craft" probably gets five stars if you are an art academic....but I think that it is important to be able to communicate with a larger audience. This is not an elitist vs. non-academic argument. I believe that information of this importance needs to reach a wider audience. Responsibility for communicating ideas rests with the author and publisher. Glenn Adamson is very personable in person, his lectures can be excellent though sometimes rambling. Why not rewrite the book so it communicates the ideas in a more approachable and accessible manner.
Good connections between french theory and contemporary craft practices. Also get "The Craft Reader" his bibliography from this series of research.