Paul Evans Symposium

12 Apr 2014
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
James A. Michener Art Museum, Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion


Paul Evans (1931–87), Cabinet (Skyline Cabinet), ca. 1966. Welded and patinated steel, colored pigments, and brass; 30 1/4 x 75 x 18 5/8 inches. Conn Family Trust. Photo by Jason Wierzbicki.

This symposium, coinciding with the exhibition, Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism, will consider how Evans' work bears the aesthetic imprint of first-generation regional studio furniture makers, as well as new opportunities and blurring boundaries for post-World War II craftsmen, and new approaches to sculpture and furniture-making during the period. It will also explore Philadelphia's vibrant atmosphere as the center for studio craft and studio furniture during the late 1960s and the Philadelphia craft renaissance's impact on regional artists testing new ideas and self-consciously asserting their role in American art.

The program will include the following contributors:

  • Paul Eisenhauer, Executive Director and Curator, Wharton Esherick Museum
  • Mira Nakashima, Creative Director, George Nakashima Studio
  • Constance Kimmerle, Curator of Collections, James A. Michener Art Museum
  • Gregory Wittkopp, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum and the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research
  • Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University
  • Robert Slifkin, Assistant Professor/Modern & Contemporary Art, New York University
  • Helen W. Drutt English, Founder/Director, Helen Drutt: Philadelphia
  • Mark Sfirri, sculptor and furniture maker

The first large-scale project undertaken by the Michener in response to its expanded focus on collecting and presenting regional studio crafts, Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism explores the sculpted-bronze art furniture of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania artist (1931–87). Working with expressive, abstract forms, and molten surfaces, Evans forged a dramatic sensibility that applied principals from abstract expressionist painting to the design of cabinets, chests, tables, sofas, and side-tables. Research for this monographic survey has been several years in the making and is guided by Curator of the Collections, Connie Kimmerle, who is working with a team of international scholars. The project presents Evans' work not simply as that of an iconic maker, but as connected with the cultural life of its community, as an outgrowth of the conditions of modern education and technology, and as responsive to America's post-war economic boom.

Registration fees: $35 member, $50 non-member, $20 student with valid ID, includes museum admission

Advance registration required. Call for student discount tickets: 215.340.9800.