The Tool at Hand Opens at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Artists Challenged to Create a Work of Art Using Only One Tool
Milwaukee, Wis. – In March of 2011, the Chipstone Foundation invited sixteen established artists from Britain and America to participate in an unusual experiment: each artist was asked to lay aside his or her standard tool kit and craft a work of art with one tool alone. The Tool at Hand will showcase these works, the tools that crafted them, and short, explanatory videos produced by each artist, in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Decorative Arts Gallery, December 8, 2011–April 1, 2012.
“The challenge presented to the artists sounds simple: create a work of art with one tool. The material and tool to be used were left open-ended, with the purpose of encouraging creativity within the one-tool constraint,” said Ethan Lasser, curator of the exhibition for the Chipstone Foundation. “For centuries, artists and artisans have felt a particularly intimate connection to their tools. Tools have been described as extensions of the body, and in certain cultures, they have been revered as sacred objects with lives of their own.”
The exhibition will feature a variety of mediums and tools, ranging from paintings to sculpture, a paintbrush to a dental drill. For example, Hongtao Zhou uses a double boiler to melt wax that is then molded into a chair. “As a commission that imposes a sharp and rather unusual constraint, The Tool at Hand puts the skill and creativity of some of the most talented names in the art world today to the test. As a project that offers makers a chance to reflect on the way they use their tools, the exhibition promises to open a window into a relatively unexplored dimension of the artistic process,” said Lasser.
The artists who have crafted work for The Tool at Hand include Helen Carnac, David Clarke, Liz Collins, Chad Curtis, Michael Eden, Ndidi Ekubia, Joy Garnett, David Gates, Lisa Gralnich, Jon Prown, Tavs Jorgensen, Mark Lindquist, Beth Lipman, Gord Peteran, Hongtao Zhou and Caroline Slotte.
The exhibition is curated by Ethan Lasser, curator at the Chipstone Foundation.
ABOUT THE CHIPSTONE FOUNDATION
The Chipstone Foundation is a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 25,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine as “Best Design of 2001.” For more information, please visit www.mam.org.