(Above: Metal jewelry necklace by juror Ellen Wieske)
“I must say it was the best jury experience I have ever had. The process was clear and easy to understand. I loved the other jurors and our discussions. It was a very positive working group experience.” ~ Ellen Wieske, 2019 Juror
When it comes to selecting artists for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the jurors have the challenge of reviewing outstanding work from a large pool of applicants where there are many more qualified artists than there are spaces to exhibit. With 800 entries and just 195 available slots, the process involves more than meets the eye. This year’s panel of jurors represents a myriad of expertise in the art of fine craft including Elisabeth Agro, Daniel Clayman, Jane Sauer, Lewis Wexler, and Ellen Wieske. Collectively the jurors have their work in museums around the country, are curators, lecturers, studio artists, and gallery owners and serve on Boards and Committees in the world of fine craft.
We asked this uniquely qualified group to bring us inside the process, starting with, “What do you look for in the work?”
JANE looks for fresh ideas and the artist’s ability to support those ideas in the work.
DAN seeks something that he finds interesting by how it looks or speaks to him.
ELIZABETH watches for up and coming artists who are pushing the boundaries of their medium.
LEW: Good artwork has a simple criteria; is it well crafted and designed, is it well thought out, and lastly, is the artist serious and dedicated to their craft?
(Above: Glass sculpture by juror Daniel Clayman)
Next we asked, “What are the most interesting aspects of being a juror?”
LEW appreciates the camaraderie with fellow jurors. “It is really nice to spend time with people in the arts that I normally don’t get to see”,
ELIZABETH finds it rewarding to be with colleagues from across the country discussing the work at hand. “As the PMA’s curator of craft, it is an opportunity to spend quality time with the dedicated women who make up the PMA Craft Show committee. Not only is it a pleasure to work with them, I very much respect all the hard work they do to realize this important show.”
DAN: The work itself and the jurying process sparked some interesting and at times intense discussion.
Jane sums it up well: “To properly jury a show, the juror needs access to good images and be in a comfortable environment. The computer system should be user friendly and carefully explained so all jurors are adequately trained. The Women’s Committee of PMA made sure all these requirements were fulfilled 100%. I really appreciated the dialogue with other jurors during the process. I learned from each of the other jurors, which made the few days we were together ever so stimulating and rich.”
(Above: Fiber art by juror Jane Sauer)
Jane Sauer is a fiber artist of 35 years with work in over 24 museum collections. She is a curator, lecturer, teacher, writer, and gallery owner in Santa Fe, NM. Jane served on the American Craft Council Board of Trustees, including Chair and honorary Fellow, and she was on the Craft Emergency Relief Fund Board of Directors. Jane also served on the Advisory Board of Santa Fe University of Art & Design, National Council School of Art at Washington University, the International Women’s Forum and she was honored by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
Elisabeth Agro is the Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is co-founder and advisor of Critical Craft Forum. She has curated several exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Wrought & Crafted: Jewelry and Metalwork 1900 – Present, Interactions in Clay: Contemporary Explorations of the Collection, Craft Spoken Here and organized Calder Jewelry. In 2014 she launched Techné, Ambassadors for International Craft, the Museum’s newest affinity group.
Daniel Clayman is an acclaimed contemporary glass artist. He is professor of Craft + Material Studies and Head of Glass at the University of the Arts. Daniel has work in the collections of museums across the globe, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. He is the first endowed Chair in the University’s history.
Ellen Wieske works in several mediums as an artist. Primarily a metalsmith, Ellen received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Arts. Currently the assistant director at Haystack School of Crafts, she has taught workshops at Arrowmont, Penland, Haystack, 92nd Street Y, East Carolina University, UMASS Dartmouth, and in Canada, France and West Africa. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. Wieske runs her studio/gallery Dowstudio in Deer Isle Maine with her wife, potter Carole Ann Fer.
Lewis Wexler is a lecturer, collector, and owner of Wexler Gallery. Early in his career, he was assistant vice president of 20th century decorative arts at Christie’s Auction House in New York City. Lewis then worked with world-renowned French art Deco dealer Anthony Delorenzo at his Madison Avenue gallery. He has lectured extensively at institutions including The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, The Furniture Society Conference, UBS’ Annual Global Media & Communications Conference, and SOFA Chicago. He has been featured in various national publications and appeared on the cover of Art & Antiques magazine.
Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement of the 2019 exhibitors and save the date for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, November 8-10th, with a gala preview on November 7th.