In modern times, efforts have been made to include a variety of artists and art forms in the range of art historical research. Despite the expansion of boundaries, artwork that has been labeled as being in a craft medium has continued to be excluded from art history scholarship. Once a medium is placed into this category, it settles into its status as less worthy of aesthetic inquiry and exclusion from the traditional canon. There have been efforts both by historians and artists to bridge the gap between these boundaries. Artists have explored these definitions by playing with medium, while art historians have researched the connections, but the pervasive hierarchy of fine art over craft has persisted into current times. This project will interrogate the boundaries between art and craft through the lens of art historical research and the creation of artwork, itself. The artwork on display will act as the visual representation of the scholarly discussions on what defines craft from art while also attempting to break those boundaries.
Savannah Shanley is a senior double majoring in Studio Art and Art History and minoring in Arts Administration. During her time at Salem, she has been dedicated to advocating for the arts both through her academic work in her classes as well as through co-curricular activities. After graduating, she plans to begin working as an arts administrator in Winston-Salem as well as continuing her own journey as an artist.
I agree with you that much great work is ignored when it is classified as "craft" or even as "folk art". I look forward to seeing your work tomorrow!