Josiah McElheny

Moderna Museet | Stockholm

The crafts should perhaps be thought of as the work of “citizen artisans” who manipulate clay, metal, thread, or glass with consummate skill to create exceptional objects out of common materials. The hard-worn distinction between fine-art elitism and craft’s populism is still taken for granted, but these terms are becoming confounded as crafts edge toward fine arts either out of strategy or desire. While artists pluck techniques from the crafts as necessary, craft practitioners have begun to interleave content from outside their normal purview, sometimes with beguiling results, as in the work of Josiah McElheny.

Education in the crafts frequently consists of mastering bedrock techniques through an apprenticeship in which a practitioner rises from deferential tyro to creative master. McElheny, trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, apprenticed from 1989 to 1997 with master glassblowers

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