EVERYDAY OBJECTS: THE EVOLUTION & INNOVATIONS OF JOSEPH ANDERSON
NOV. 12, 2017 - JUN. 3, 2018
Spanning five decades, Joseph Anderson’s career as a jeweler, artist-blacksmith and sculptor serves as an example of how American blacksmiths forged new paths to success during the revival of the craft in the 1960s and 1970s. Some blacksmiths followed academic routes, seeking degrees and teaching positions through newly formed or revived programs at universities. Others established American versions of the European model for apprenticeships and set up their own shops working with clients on commissions. Of this generation of pioneering blacksmiths, Joseph Anderson stands out as he developed a studio artist practice and utilized craft fair venues to build his reputation.
At a time when many blacksmiths were following traditional styles in ornamental ironwork, Joseph Anderson was experimenting with visual motifs and line work. By developing his own artistic style at the same time that he created functional wares to be sold, Anderson bridged a gap between traditional, functional ironwork and conceptual expressions. His creativity inspired and motivated his peers to think outside the box. Friendly competition within the field challenged smiths to continue to elevate their skill and their visual concepts and ultimately helped move blacksmithing more prominently into the sphere of fine art. Joseph Anderson’s success has paved the way for generations of smiths to follow in his footsteps, continuing the advancement of the field.