With their distinct markets, institutions, and specialists, the realms of fine art and craft today largely exist as parallel, specialized industries. When they do intersect, practitioners and observers typically offer two syntheses: craft “rises” to the institutional and aesthetic condition of art or supplements its exclusivity as a model of unalienated production. Yet fine artists since the early modern period have, at key moments, called upon “craft,” in its many valences, to engage, rather than negate, the movements of history that conditioned their work. Focusing on such moments, the participants in this series will assess the stakes and the meanings of art’s craft in settings ranging from the Italian Renaissance, to eighteenth-century India, to the contemporary Andes.
Over six workshops scheduled throughout the 2023–24 academic year and taking place on Princeton's campus, Know How: Workshops on the Histories of Art and Craft aims to develop responses to the following questions: Under what social, material, and art-historical conditions does craft appear? How do the motivations and manifestations of such appearances compare across geographies and periods? As art historians, what methods are at our disposal to follow artists and objects as they bridge the systems of value that separate their circulation?
Participants in the Fall 2023 semester include Harper Montgomery, Horacio Ramos, and David Young Kim; participants in the Spring 2024 semester include Julia Bryan-Wilson, Amy Yao, and Dipti Khera (dates to be announced). Organized by Joe Bucciero and Elise Chagas.