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Henrietta Post
  • Frans Wildenhain exhibition debuting at RIT

  • Viewers will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at some of the utilitarian and sculptural pieces by renowned master Bauhaus potter Frans Wildenhain in the exhibition, “Frans Wildenhain 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century,” from Aug. 20 through Oct. 2 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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  • Viewers will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at some of the utilitarian and sculptural pieces by renowned master Bauhaus potter Frans Wildenhain in the exhibition, “Frans Wildenhain 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century,” from Aug. 20 through Oct. 2. The show runs simultaneously at two venues on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus — Bevier Gallery and National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Dyer Arts Center.
    “In many significant ways, Frans Wildenhain’s life, his art, his career and his work encapsulate virtues that are models for us all," said Bruce Austin, RIT professor and organizer of the Wildenhain exhibition. "He was the consummate and complete artist, a business entrepreneur and innovator, and a mentor whose students today are internationally admired.”
    Born in Leipzig, Germany, Wildenhain received his artistic training in the early 1920s at the Bauhaus pottery workshop in Weimar. He emigrated to the United States following World War II, settling at an artists’ commune at Pond Farm, north of San Francisco. The artist joined RIT in 1950 as a founding member of the School for American Craftsman, now the School for American Crafts.
    In 2010, art collector Robert Bradley Johnson, of Scottsville, donated more than 300 pieces from his Wildenhain ceramic collection to the RIT Archives — half of which will be on view during the exhibition.
    With a gift earlier this year from Paul Rankin, the son of Wildenhain’s third wife, Lili Wildenhain, RIT Archives acquired four of his sketchbooks and artifacts from the 1970s, the last decade of his life, when Wildenhain made trips to Mexico, Florida and Europe. The exhibition will highlight some of this memorabilia collection in both galleries.
    The exhibition will also feature an accompanying catalogue, “Frans Wildenhain 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century,” which is comprised of scholarly essays, archival images and color photographs of the objects on display.
    The text includes Wildenhain’s biography, a history of RIT’s School for American Craftsmen, contextualization of Wildenhain’s art within mid-century modern U.S. ceramics, an investigation of the commercialization of crafts at Shop One and an interview with collector Johnson.
    A book-signing for “Frans WIldenhain 1950-75: Creative and Commercial American Ceramics at Mid-Century” will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, with author and exhibition curator Bruce Austin and photographer A. Sue Weisler. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Phillips Fine Art, 248 East Ave., Rochester.
    If you go
    WHEN Aug. 20 through Oct. 2
    WHERE Rochester Institute of Technology at the Bevier Gallery and National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Dyer Arts Center
    FOR MORE INFO about the exhibition, call (585) 475-2879 or visit www.rit.edu/wild.

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