North Auditorium Gallery, ground floor
Contemporary crafts were among the first works of art to enter the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when it was founded in 1876, and since that time the acquisition of these objects has expanded steadily. This exhibition highlights a selection of purchases, gifts, and bequests since the year 2000—a group so varied it encompasses the Museum's departments of American art, costume and textiles, East Asian art, and European decorative arts. Each year these departments acquire contemporary crafts made of clay, glass, metal, fiber, and wood. Many pieces are generously given by donors who for many years enjoyed these works of art in their homes, offices, and in some cases, on their own bodies. Others are purchased with funds provided by donors or philanthropic organizations, such as the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is a feast of riches! In order to illustrate the ways in which contemporary craft manifests in different cultures, Cultural Convergence is intentionally international in scope. Exhibiting these objects side by side reveals how artists from all over the world express themselves in these common materials. The variety is always intriguing and yet there are universal ideas that shape each piece. Cultural Convergence embraces the differences and similarities and celebrates these new acquisitions.
Elisabeth Agro • The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts