Craft: An American History
Date and Time:
Jan 27 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Note: Event start time is Central Time (CT).


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Glenn Adamson

Craft historian and curator

Norman Teague

Founder, Norman Teague Design Studio

Craft: An American History

American History | Art | Civil Rights | Culture | History

At the center of the United States’ economic and social development, according to conventional wisdom, are industry, commodities, and technology—while craftspeople and handmade objects are relegated to a bygone past. In Craft: An American History, renowned craft historian and curator Glenn Adamson turns that narrative on its head, revealing how makers have always been central to America’s identity. Examine any phase of the nation’s struggle to define itself, and artisans are there—from the silversmith Paul Revere and the revolutionary carpenters and blacksmiths who hurled tea into Boston Harbor, to today’s “craftivists.” From Mother Jones to Rosie the Riveter. From Betsy Ross to the AIDS Quilt.

Mr. Adamson documents how craft has long been implicated in debates around inequality, education, and class, as well as America’s failures to live up to its loftiest ideals. Yet artisanship has also been a site of resistance for oppressed people, such as enslaved African Americans whose skilled labor might confer hard-won agency under bondage, or the Native American makers who built traditional arts into businesses that preserved cherished folkways. Theirs are among the array of memorable portraits of Americans both celebrated and unfamiliar in this richly peopled book. As Mr. Adamson argues, these artisans’ stories speak to our collective striving toward a more perfect union: from the beginning, America had to be—and still remains to be—crafted.

Mr. Adamson’s previous books include Fewer, Better Things, The Invention of Craft, and The Craft Reader. His writings have also been published in museum catalogues and in Art in America, Antiquesfrieze, and other periodicals. He was previously director of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and has held appointments as Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, and as Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Mr. Adamson will be interviewed by Norman Teague, founder of Chicago-based Norman Teague Design Studio.

This event suitable for youth 12+.

BONUS AFTER-HOURS EVENT: Attendees who purchase a copy of Craft from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an AFTER-HOURS event hosted by Mr. Adamson that will start immediately after the webinar.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED for all FAN events. This event will be recorded and available later on our website and YouTube channel.