Contemporary Baskets

Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
courtesy New Mexico Museum of Art
April 3, 2009
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A three-piece set of baskets created by Elsie Holiday is part of the Lieberman Collection exhibit, Intertwined, at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
courtesy Bruce Peterson/New Mexico Museum of Art
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Santa Fe, New Mexico – Sara and David Lieberman, with their passion for collecting contemporary craft and their exceptional openness to new forms and ideas, have assembled one of the best collections of contemporary baskets in the country. The more than 150 baskets in their collection were at first collected for their “function and appeal” and their grounding in ancient traditions. But their selections soon included new works of great “vitality and vigor” that were more about “expression and communication” rather than function.

Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art on April 24and runs through September 6. The Women’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico will host an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the Free Friday Evening, April 24.

Intertwined and its accompanying catalog will provide an international look at contemporary basket making and its current level of innovation and experimentation. The baskets in their collection utilize a range of materials and techniques from traditional organic to commercial and often surprising media. Represented artists include the well-known international to the regional – four from Santa Fe – and they work in both functional containers as well as closed, sculptural forms.

Intertwined will include more than 70 traditional and non-traditional baskets, including works by some of the major figures in contemporary basket making: Ed Rossbach, Katherine Westphal, Sally Black, Kiyomi Iwata, Kazuaki Honma, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Carol Eckert John McQueen, Elsie Holiday, Ferne Jacobs, Norma Minkowitz, Fran Reed, Lisa Telford, John Garrett, Kay Kahn, and many more. Both Garrett and Kahn are New Mexico artists.

 “This exhibition demonstrates how basketry has been redefined during the past four decades,” says Laura Addison, curator of contemporary art at the New Mexico Museum of Art and local curator for this exhibition. “Many of the works in Intertwined are unrecognizable as baskets; rather they are sculptures that employ traditional, and nontraditional, basketmaking techniques and materials. The Liebermans’ collection is exceptional in its quality and breadth. Included are works primarily from the United States, including Native American basketry, but also from Japan and Great Britain.”

The contemporary baskets of Intertwined are another sub-category of “crafts” that the Museum has been showing in recent years, including this summer’s exhibition Flux: Reflections on Contemporary Glass and several exhibitions on ceramics over the past decade.

Intertwined is curated by Heather Sealy Lineberry, senior curator, ASU Art Museum. Jane Sauer, nationally known basket maker and scholar, consulted on the selection process. The 48-page color catalog includes an essay by nationally known curator and scholar Kenneth R. Trapp, and a short piece by artist Ferne Jacobs.

Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection is organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona. The ASU Art Museum is part of the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University.

For more on the museum and other exhibits, visit the website.


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