Pritam & Eames pays homage to early years

43_atgThe 30th anniversary exhibition at Pritam & Eames in East Hampton, N.Y., “Speaking of Furniture,” opened May 27 and will run through Aug. 2. The show, which takes its name from the book, “Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters,” features work by Wendell Castle, Jere Osgood, Judy Kensley McKie, David Ebner, Richard Scott Newman, Hank Gilpin, Alphonse Mattia, John Dunnigan, Wendy Maruyama, James Schriber, Timothy Philbrick, Michael Hurwitz and Thomas Hucker.

“The selection of the 14 makers to interview for the book was based on those whose work was integral to Pritam & Eames in its first decade,” says Bebe Johnson, gallery partner. “In those interviews, we asked the 14 artist-craftsmen to tell us why they do what they do and how they found their way into the field.

“Although the publication of the interviews was planned closer in time to when the conversations took place, that aim wasn’t realized and the project was put on the shelf for 20 years. However, we returned to the manuscript recently and found these 20-year old stories as engaging and fresh as if they had happened yesterday and, in an inverse sort of way, more relevant today than when originally recorded.

“The gallery continues to represent most of the makers in the publication project,” adds Johnson. “We’ve had a good long run with this field of studio furniture and it’s been extremely satisfying to be both witness and participant in its evolution. The work still challenges, the friendships endure and we look forward to this new season.”

Smithsonian expansion

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is creating a new center to expand its national education program. The center will benefit students in classrooms across the nation and on U.S. military bases worldwide as well as school groups touring the museum, conservators, research fellows and educators. An $8 million private gift will support creation of the center and a related program endowment.

The 2,300-sq.-ft. facility will be located on the first floor of the museum’s main building in Washington, D.C. Long-distance learning is a priority for the museum’s education outreach, so the center will be equipped with a state-of-the-art video conferencing system, according to Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

44_atg“It has been a long-standing dream to have a space dedicated to the museum’s education program in our museum as a visible symbol of our commitment to education and a much-needed flexible learning space,” she says. “The museum presents its extraordinary collection of American art as a basis for learning at all levels, using original artworks to teach about the American experience. When this education center opens, it will join the museum’s Luce Foundation Center and Lunder Conservation Center as innovative spaces that represent the core purposes of the museum: education, collections and preservation.”

The endowment also will support the museum’s goal of creating new American history and civics resources for teachers and students based on the best artworks in the museum’s collection. A dedicated staff and teacher advisory committee will shape this interdisciplinary initiative and link it to state and national standards.

45_atgThe center, which is in the early planning stages, is scheduled to open in spring 2012.

Elsewhere

Recent work by studio furniture maker and marquetry artist Silas Kopf is on display at the Wexler Gallery in Philadelphia. The solo exhibition opened May 6 and runs through June 25.

Thomas Throop, an award-winning furniture maker from New Canaan, Conn., has organized a group of 12 New England furniture makers for the exhibit, “The Next Wave — A 3rd Generation of Studio Furniture Makers,” at the Windsor Art Center in Windsor, Conn. The show is scheduled to run July 9 to Aug. 20 and features work by Brian Reed, Peter Turner, Andy Peklo, Mark Del Guidice, John Reed Fox, Timothy Coleman, Duncan Gowdy, Peter Shepard, Leah Woods, Nico Yektai, Peter Harrison and Throop.

Contacts

Pritam & Eames, 29 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937. Tel: 631-324-7111. www.pritameames.com

Smithsonian American Art Museum, MRC 970 Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012. Tel: 202-633-1000. www.americanart.si.edu

Wexler Gallery, 201 North 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-923-7030. www.wexlergallery.com

Windsor Art Center, 40 Mechanic St., Windsor CT 06095. Tel: 860-688-2528. www.windsorartcenter.org

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue.