Alfred University News

Numerous Alfred University artists to be featured in major exhibition in Stockholm

The National Museum of Sweden will unveil on March 30 the exhibition Beauty and the Unexpected, an exhibition of American art from the 1950s to today that also features a dozen artists associated with Alfred University.

The exhibition has been curated by former gallerist and arts and crafts expert Helen W. Drutt English, who received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University in 2019. The University recognized Drutt English as a longtime advocate for Alfred’s art community, including graduates of the ceramic arts program. “None of the pioneers of the contemporary cultural marketplace has been more important to Alfred University and to the advancement of ceramic art than Helen Drutt English,” said Wayne Higby, director of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, in presenting Drutt English with her honorary degree.

 Higby is one of the 12 artists associated with Alfred University whose work will be included in Beauty and the Unexpected. Others include: Chris Berti, Anne Currier, Andrea Gill, John Gill, Matthew Metz, Linda Sikora, Robert Turner, William Underhill, Paula Winokur, Robert Winokur and Arnold Zimmerman. The exhibition will be on view at the National Museum of Sweden, in Stockholm, from March 30 through Jan. 21, 2024. 

 A preview opening and dinner will be held for the artists and invited dignitaries on the evening of March 29.

 Drutt English’s inspiration for the Sweden exhibition came from working on a similar initiative, Gifts from America, for the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2014. The artworks in the National Museum of Sweden exhibition have been donated by artists and collectors as well as by Helen W. Drutt English and her family. They will become part of the National Museum's permanent collection and provide an opportunity to look at American art and craft in a Nordic context.

 In a recent interview regarding her curatorial efforts for the Sweden exhibition, Drutt English outlined her perspective on the modern craft movement, saying:  “The modern craft movement has merged with a wider art discussion and the line between art forms has blurred.  These thoughts were central when I started selecting objects for the National Museum. The selection eventually landed on 81 objects from the 1950s to today that can be seen in the exhibition.”

 In addition to artists associated directly with Alfred University, the exhibition will include work from other prominent American artists, such as George Nakashima, Art Smith, Nancy Carman, Lenore Tawney, Toshiko Takaezu, Jere Osgood, Rudolf Staffel, Jamie Bennett, and Albert Paley.

 Drutt English noted the artists have lived “all over the United States. Each of them fills their works with personal associations, so that the viewer gets an insight into the artists' world of thought.”