April 7@1:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
$20 member | $25 non-member | $10 student
Price includes Museum admission
A panel of artists and specialists from the region’s studios, galleries and auction houses will explore the ongoing interest in collecting American Studio Furniture.
Robert Aibel, Gallery Founder and Co-Director, Moderne Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Aibel’s scholarly approach to the field has established him as an authority, particularly in French Art Deco, the American Studio Craft Movement, Wharton Esherick and George Nakashima. He is a founder and former president and secretary of the Old City Arts Association (First Friday) and a 30+ year member and former chairperson of COLLAB, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s board for modern and contemporary decorative arts. He is the author of several publications on art and communication – and on the work of George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick. Aibel received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D in Aesthetic Communication from the University of Pennsylvania. He was on the faculty at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1992.
Miriam Carpenter, artist and designer, New Hope, PA
Carpenter began her career by designing furniture alongside Mira Nakashima after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006. In 2013, her work was exhibited in “An Evolving Legacy” which featured collaborations by Mira and Miriam at the Moderne Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. In 2014, she was awarded a Windgate ITE Residency sponsored by the Center for Art in Wood. The year following, she lived, worked, and studied with furniture makers, sculptors, scholars, and environmental stewards in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Carpenter’s work has been exhibited most notably at the Wharton Esherick Museum, Moderne Gallery, Philadelphia International Airport, SOFA, Center for Art in Wood, Wayne Art Center, and Saskatchewan Craft Council. She is The Raymond Farm Center for Living Arts & Design’s first Artist in Residence.
Mira Nakashima Yarnall, Creative Director, George Nakashima Woodworkers, New Hope, PA
Mira Nakashima was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up mostly in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She studied architecture at Harvard College, and later received a master’s degree in architecture from Waseda University in Tokyo. She joined her father’s studio, George Nakashima Woodworker, S.A., in 1976, and later became a vice president, designer, and shop supervisor. After his death in 1990, she took over as Creative Director, where she continues her leading role. Her furniture has exhibited throughout the United States. Her Projects include The Nakashima Reading Room at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (1993); the Concordia chair and the “Keisho” collection furniture series, introduced in 1998; and the book Nature, Form and Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima (2003).
David Rago, founder, Rago Arts and Auction Center, Lambertville, NJ
David Rago has been a specialist in American and European 20th-century decorative arts and furnishings for 35 years. A leading dealer in the field of American arts and crafts, he is the founder of the Rago Arts and Auction Center, one of the country’s principal specialty auction houses. He is the author of over 500 magazine and newspaper articles and author of five books on the subject, including his most recent two works, The Arts and Crafts Collector’s Guide, for Peregrine-Smith; and the Official Price Guide to American Arts and Crafts, for Random House. He is the publisher of two nationally distributed magazines, one focusing on the Arts and Crafts Period (Style: 1900) and the other on Modernist design (Modernism). Rago lectures in his specialty at major conferences across the United States and holds 20 auctions at the Rago Arts and Auction Center throughout the season.
Mark Sfirri, artist
Sfirri’s career spans nearly 50 years. His explorations in woodturning have paved new ground in a popular aspect of that field. Sfirri’s signature multi-axis turning has been incorporated into his furniture and sculpture. He received a “Distinguished Educator Award” in 2010 by the Renwick Alliance. His work is included in the permanent collections of twenty-seven public institutions including the Museum of Art and Design (NYC), The Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian Institution), The Yale Art Gallery, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, among others.
Moderated by Kathleen Jameson, Executive Director, Michener Art Museum
Image: Robert Whitley (b. 1924). Starfish Desk, 1966. Figured American black walnut, hide glue gesso and stippled blue paint. 55 x 36 x 17 inches. James A. Michener Art Museum. Gift of the Artist in Honor of Bruce Katsiff, Director 1989-2012.