ASU Art Museum – Crafting a Continuum

Author: Nancy

Posted on: October 17, 2013
Last updated on: February 22nd, 2016 at 10:08 am

Alison Elizabeth Taylor Chainlink, 2008

Alison Elizabeth Taylor Chainlink, 2008

I took advantage of Tempe’s ASU Art Museum’s extended hours on Tuesdays, when it’s open until 8 p.m., and left straight from work to see one of the new fall exhibitions, Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft. This unique exhibition is on display in the museum and Ceramics Research Center galleries through December 7.

I was absolutely in awe of Crafting a Continuum. Thanks to the vision of Rudy Turk, the museum’s director from 1967-1992, the ASU Art Museum today owns an extraordinary collection, one of the best in the country, of what is considered craft art, works in wood, fiber and ceramics. Crafting a Continuum is virtually brimming with 100 wonderful and wondrous works from the museum’s collection. It features works by established artists such as Viola Frey, Beatrice Wood (who produced artwork until she died at 105 years old), Peter Voulkos, Ed Moulthrop and Dorothy Gill Barnes. Emerging artists represented include Sonya Clark, Anders Ruhwald, Mark Newport and Alison Elizabeth Taylor.

The exhibit shows the many new and innovative ways in which artists are using basic materials and old techniques to create modern and contemporary works of art. For instance, there is a beautiful contemporary example of the centuries old technique of marquetry titled Chainlink by Alison Elizabeth Taylor. The work was painstakingly crafted with pieces of wood veneers that were affixed to a flat surface. The result is an intricately detailed picture of a drained and dilapidated swimming pool at a hotel in Salton Sea, a failed resort near Palm Springs. A dilapidated swimming pool has never looked so elegant.

I was also fascinated by Carol Eckert’s intricate fabric work created by using the ancient technique of coiling, in which stitches are knotted around a fiber core. She has taken this process further by using wire as the core, which enables three dimensional figures.

There are also several works that are definitely innovative and are very, for want of a better word (please be aware that I’m not trying to pass myself off as an art critic), funky and fun to look at, but defy description, at least by me.

These are just a few examples. Believe me there are many more. Crafting a Continuum is brimming with mesmerizing art. I certainly fell under its spell. I loved all of it, even the aforementioned funky works. It will be up through December 7. After that, selected works from the exhibition will travel to five additional venues around the country, beginning in January of 2014.

I was so engrossed in Crafting a Continuum that closing time rolled around faster than I expected, which prevented me from seeing the other exhibitions. But, I will return to explore the rest of the galleries. There are four other exhibitions on display.

Plate • Silk • Stone: Impressions by Women Artists from the ASU Art Museum Print Collection, through December 8

Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066, through January 4

Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Art Faculty Exhibition, October 12-January 18

This Is Not America: Resistance, Protest and Poetics, through June 6

For more information on the ASU Art Museum exhibitions, visit

For more information on Tempe events, visit

Anders Ruhwald Form and Function, #2, 2006 Glazed earthenware, painted steel, piping, rubber caps Photo: Craig Smith

Anders Ruhwald Form and Function, #2, 2006 Glazed earthenware, painted steel, piping, rubber caps Photo: Craig Smith

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