The New York Times
August 1, 2012
By Julie Lasky

In 1972, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum was created as a home for arts, crafts and design. Four decades later, the gallery is celebrating the evolution and happy confusion of those disciplines in a show of the work of 40 artists born in the last 40 years.

Organized by Nicholas Bell, “40 Under 40: Craft Futures” focuses on themes like sustainability, sampling and the spirit-nurturing qualities of handwork.

Objects on display include Sebastian Martorana’s “Impressions” (2008), top left, a marble pillow permanently imprinted with the shape of the artist’s deceased father-in-law’s head, and Christy Oates’s “Crane Chair” (2009), bottom left, a functional seat that folds flat and hangs decoratively on the wall when not in use.

Rather than obsess over labels, the artists’ attitude is “I just do what I do,” Mr. Bell said. “It’s refreshing to see people abandoning language that we’ve been using to express ourselves over the decades.”

The show is on view through Feb. 3; information: (202) 633-7970 or

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