Fuller Craft Museum Welcomes New Director Jonathan Fairbanks


The Board of Directors of Fuller Craft Museum has announce that Jonathan Leo Fairbanks has been named Fuller Craft’s new Director. Founder and Curator Emeritus of the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fairbanks has had a long-standing relationship with the Massachusetts-based contemporary craft museum. In fact, he was honored recently by Fuller Craft (along with Sam Maloof in 2009) with a Luminaries award for his lifelong dedication to the arts. Fairbanks now joins New England’s only museum dedicated to exhibitions that explore life through the art of contemporary craft.

Jonathan Fairbanks, Director

“We are so pleased to gain the leadership of such a distinguished museum veteran and artist,” said Chris Rifkin, Chairman of the Board. “This is an exciting time for Fuller Craft. Jonathan has a profound understanding of the connectedness of craft to the artist, and to all of us in our everyday lives. This makes him the right person to lead our talented staff and make our museum a focal point, a mirror to what’s happening in the studio craft world. His vision, experience, and national reputation as one of the country’s foremost experts in craft will be tremendously beneficial to our museum.”

Fairbanks, who has been working with museums for more than 50 years, is considered to be one of the nation’s top authorities in arts and antiques. As a Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the MFA, Boston from 1970 – 1999, he added significant contemporary craft collections to the museum, including works by 50 contemporary studio furniture makers, plus hundreds of ceramic, glass, and mixed media artists.

“The new studio crafts movement is the most exciting thing going on in American art today. People relate to craft, the authentic creations of the hand, brain, and heart,” said Fairbanks. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Fuller Craft since the early 1970s and believe that this nimble, soulful organization has a special opportunity to shine a spotlight on the important values of craft and shaping materials. Boston was the first large urban area in America with a great arts and crafts organization. Fuller Craft Museum built upon that tradition, and today is one of a handful of museums in the country dedicated entirely to showcasing fine contemporary craft. I am honored to be a part of the future of Fuller Craft Museum.

The Process: Setting Up a Museum Solo Exhibition


As part of an ongoing series, we focus on the process of an event or artwork as the basis for the blog posting. Today, the blog posting is a two-fer where the photo documentation is both about Michael Janis’ creative process and info about Michael Janis’ solo show at Fuller Craft Museum, opening this Saturday, August 6, 2011.

The Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts

The lead time for a museum show is very long – the Fuller Craft Museum contacted Michael in 2009 requesting a solo show at the museum in 2011, so Michael has been planning some aspect of the work for well over a year and features twenty five of his glass artworks. This posting will focus on his site specific sculpture in the show – titled “Unpredictable Factors”.

To help visualize the space, images of previous exhibitions and a floor plan of the gallery space within the museum were sent to Michael to help plan out the show.

Floor Plan of Fuller Museum’s Tarlow Gallery

Marc Petrovic’s exhibition in Fuller’s Tarlow Gallery 2007.

Michael said that he wanted to create a large scale work for the museum show, and had focused on using one of the 8′ wide floor-to-ceiling window areas as the location, with the idea that the light and view beyond could be integrated into the work.

Concepts for the sculpture were sketched by Michael, and details of the steel work were outlined.

Sketches were integrated with photos of the gallery as the studies advanced.

Michael focused on the design with a central image sculpture and proceeded forward with creation of the other artwork pieces for the show. Working with noted metalsmith Chris Shea, the architectural metal work for the large sculpture was created.

Firing of separate layers of the components within the sculpture and the fitting to the metal framework took place in late spring of 2011.

In August, all 25 works by Michael Janis were crated and packed for shipping to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton – about 20 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.

Upon arrival at the Fuller Museum, the artwork is opened, inspected and cataloged by the Museum staff.

Fuller Registrar Donna Eleyi inspects the incoming work.

The condition of each piece is noted and the packing is documented. Here Donna Eleyi photographs the unpacking by Preparator Jason Ram.

The works are placed to allow for the arrangement by Fuller Museum curator Perry Price.

Installation of the steel framework for Michael Janis’ large sculpture “Unpredictable Factors” proceeds.

With completion of the wall mounting the artworks, the remaining tasks for the museum show are to install wall text for the show and artwork wall labels.

The exhibition opens Saturday, August 6, and there is a public reception August 7, from 2-5 pm. For more info on Michael’s lecture at the museum- click HERE.

Michael Janis: A Lighter Hand

August 6 – November 6, 2011

Reception Aug 7, 2011, 2-5pm

Michael Janis’ Solo Exhibition @ Fuller Craft Museum


Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts

Founded as a traditional fine arts museum and cultural center, over the past four decades the Fuller Craft Museum has transformed itself into a collection devoted entirely to crafts, one of only eight such museums in the US.
New England’s only museum of contemporary craft presents A Lighter Hand: The Glass Drawings of Michael Janis, on display Aug. 6 – Nov. 6, 2011.

One of the new works Michael has made for the exhibition is a site-specific sculpture that measures 8′-0″ and will be installed in floor to ceiling window of the exhibition space.

Michael Janis Unpredictable Factors
3′-0″W x 8′-0″H x 4″
fused glass, glass powder imagery, steel

Michael Janis Unpredictable Factors (detail)
3′-0″W x 8′-0″H x 4″
fused glass, glass powder imagery, steel

From the Fuller Craft Museum press release:

,,,”Janis’ work is the result of a laborious and challenging process. Similar to sgraffito, where a design is scratched through a colored ground revealing another color beneath; to produce the image Janis sifts black glass powder onto sheet glass, scraping away the powder to produce the detail. The image is suspended between layers of sheet glass and fired in a kiln to fuse the constituent pieces together. In this manner any number of images can be combined to produce complex juxtapositions. The result is a collage produced entirely in glass, built from a time-consuming process allowing for an extended contemplation of his subjects.
Building on the legacy of Surrealist artists of the early 20th century, in particular Giorgio de Chirico whose paintings juxtaposed disparate objects in moody and indistinct landscapes, Janis is able to construct a contemplative feeling from the layering of seemingly inanimate objects and ambiguous characters. His images in glass, particularly those examples in a tall and narrow format, also allude to the narrative quality of stained glass.
The juxtaposition of text, symbols, and figures seem to imply a hidden message or meaning, but like an ink blot or word association Janis leaves the viewer to provide their own conclusions.
Janis lives and works in Washington, DC, where he is Co-Director and an instructor at the Washington Glass School. He first began working with glass as an architect, evident in his dedication to sheet glass and the precision draftsmanship in his drawings.

Fuller Craft will celebrate the opening of A Lighter Hand, with a public reception August 7 at 2 p.m. at the Museum. The reception is free for members and free with museum admission for all others.”
A lecture by Michael Janis precedes the public reception – click HERE for more information.

The Fuller Museum is located at 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301

Fuller Craft Museum "The New Materiality"


The Fuller Craft Museum‘s new show: The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft has its Opening Reception this weekend.

Curated by Fo Wilson, the artists in this exhibition combine new technologies – digital video, computerized design – with traditional craft materials to forge new artistic visions. The Washington Glass School’s Tim Tate is one of the featured artists in the show.

Tim Tate Virtual Novelist

blown and cast glass, electronics, original digital video

photo by Anything Photographic

Sunday, June 13, 2010, 1pm

“A Twenty-first Century View of Craft”, lecture with Fo Wilson.

Fo will discuss how the artists of ‘The New Materiality’ are adapting, manipulating and re-inventing the materials of craft in a digital age.

Sunday, June 13, 2010, 2pm

Opening Reception

Fuller Craft Museum

455 Oak Street

Brockton, MA 02301

Tim Tate @ the Fuller Museum

>Artist Tim Tate will have artwork featured in Brockton’s Fuller Craft Museum in a groundbreaking show titled “The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Craft”, which will run from May 29, 2010 thru February 6, 2011.

Curated by Fo Wilson, The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Craft steps beyond the boundaries that currently exist among technology, art, and craft. The artists in this exhibition use new technologies in tandem with traditional craft materials – clay, glass, wood, metal and fiber – to forge new artistic directions.

Tim Tate
Longing For A Hundred Years
14x6x6 Blown and cast glass, electronics, video
Video is of a sound test from Thomas Edison. First video image of 2 men dancing ever captured.

Digital video and audio, computerized design, and other technologies are viewed as new materials to be exploited, manipulated and co-opted to enrich artistic expression. The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Craft examines this phenomenon and its impact on the world of contemporary craft.

Click HERE to jump to the Fuller Craft Museum website.