Art in Craft Media 2023 is the most significant exhibition that we have presented in this biennial since it began in 1988. Throughout its history, we have always celebrated the incredible work that defines and redefines the flexible definition of “Craft” based on the vision of Sylvia L. Rosen, the artists that we present, and the jurors we have been honored to work with. With the passing of Sylvia in 2022 at the age of 102, we take on greater responsibility as we enter this new era. We move forward knowing that we are honoring her and her vision, and through intention and diligence, we continue to make her proud. We hope that, as she said at the beginning of each exhibition, this is the best one ever.
We start off this new chapter with our juror Peter B. Jones, an exceptional artist. In his artwork and in his leadership, he always informs us of past traditions and contemporary concerns. We are thankful to him for holding true to this vision in the selections that he has made. His work draws on aspects of traditional pit-fired Haudenosaunee pottery, which features hand-built coiling and slab construction. Jones’ art reflects the issues that have impacted the Haudenosaunee. His pottery is admired and collected by community members, Native American art collectors, and museums across the country and internationally.
This exhibition includes the most artists and the broadest range of artworks ever presented in the biennial. This growth reflects the increasing number of submissions that we receive every year and the strength of the work in Buffalo and our region.
Inevitably we are asked, “What is Craft?” The traditional response includes objects made in glass, wood, fiber, metal, and ceramic. However, instead of seeing these materials as the end of the conversation, we see them as a leaping-off point. We are hopeful that this means those seeking the perfectly thrown pot or most intricately woven textile will find it here, alongside objects that challenge us with their materials as much as their message. The juxtaposition of these approaches enriches our understanding of what Craft can be.
Why is this exhibition unlike any other exhibition? This exhibition is different because Sylvia L. Rosen knew that it was important for artists working in craft media to have an opportunity to be celebrated. As a ceramic artist herself, Sylvia understood the frustrations of working in an often overlooked medium. We hope that this exhibition honors her legacy of broadening the appreciation of art in craft media.
This exhibition and accompanying publication are made possible through support from the Sylvia L. Rosen Endowment for Fine Art in Craft Media and the Margaret E. Mead Endowment. One or more of the exhibited works will be selected for the permanent collection of the Burchfield Penney Art Center—and up to $3,000 in purchase awards will be made. One artist will be awarded the Langley Kenzie Prize, which includes a solo exhibition at the Burchfield Penney. One artist will also be selected to receive a monetary Margaret E. Mead Endowment Merit Award.