Milwaukee Art Museum, March 2012: The Tool at Hand
The Tool at Hand

Curated by Ethan Lasser, The Chipstone Foundation

Milwaukee Art Museum
December 8, 2011–April 1, 2012

Catalog forthcoming.

Chipstone flickr set: The Tool at Hand

more info:

Participating artists: Helen Carnac, David Clarke, Liz Collins, Chad Curtis, Michael Eden, Ndidi Ekubia, Joy Garnett, David Gates, Lisa Gralnick, Tavs Jorgensen, Mark Lindquist, Beth Lipman, Gord Peteran, Nicola Probert, Jonathan Prown, Caroline Slotte, Hongtao Zhou

The Tool at Hand brings together artworks resulting from an unusual and slightly eccentric experiment. Last spring the Chipstone Foundation invited fourteen contemporary artists to break from their usual practice and make a work of art with one tool alone. This exhibition presents these works, and the tools used to craft them, together with short, explanatory videos produced by each artist.

The artists represented in The Tool at Hand are established practitioners from the US and the UK and work in a range of materials. Silversmith Ndidi Ekubia, woodworker David Gates, and painter Joy Garnett all employed a traditional tool for their work on view: hammer, saw, paintbrush. Others, such as ceramist Caroline Slotte and designer Tavs Jorgensen, used new or non-traditional tools, from dental drills to customized 3-D printers.

For a group of artists who are accustomed to working with considerable tool kits, this commission presented an inspiring and thought-provoking challenge. Indeed, The Tool at Hand puts the skill and creativity of some of the most talented names in the art world today to the test. The exhibition showcases the wonder of the process of making and, at the same time, sparks an important conversation about the nature of skill, production, and tool use today.
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