The best of our woodworking heritage is now in a show in NYC

Last week I went to see a fascinating show which opened recently at the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan. Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design feature's works by noted artists and designers of the mid 20th century, including the pioneers of the American Studio Furniture movement.  Among the furniture makers whose pieces were selected for the show are: George Nakashima, Wharton Esherick, Sam Maloof and Wendell Castle. But, these are just a few of the woodworking masters whose work you can now see until January 15 under one roof in New York. This show encompasses the works of studio artists and craftsmen and craftswomen who worked in the USA. These iconic works – the best of furniture, ceramics, jewelry, fabrics, and metal-work made since the late 40's until the late 60s' are displayed beautifully on the 4th and 5th floor of the MAD building in Columbus circle. For us woodworkers, it is a real treat to see first hand these important pieces that engendered the first steps of sculptured furniture built in this country. 

I have included some images of pieces that are featured in the show. The show, which was curated by Jeannine Falino and Jennifer Scanlan, ends on January 15, 2012. If you visit New York city during the holidays you should definitely include this show on your to-do list. 


Jan de Swart (1908–1987)

Blanket Chest, c.1965


George Nakashima (1905–1990)

Small table, 1960




Wharton Esherick (1887–1970)

Chesttable, 1969

 Walnut, metal, and paint,



Jack Rogers Hopkins (1920–2006)

Edition chair, 1970

Finnish plywood




J.B. Blunk (1926–2002)

Scrap Chair, 1968




Wendell Castle (b.1932)

Music Rack, 1964

Oak and rosewood



Here is one of the exhibition's display spaces showing George Nakashima coffee table, Evert Sodergren sculptured chair, and the little table is designed by Louis de Respinis for Ed Wormley, mfd by Dunbar, with tiles by Otto and Gertrud Natzler.

Here is another space that show's the big Maloof chest next to a Lucas Samaras chair [with yarn] and the conceptual table by Richard Artschwager.

And lastly the space where the prototype for the Edition chair by Jack Rogers Hopkins, and the small chest by Jan de Swart are shown…


American Woodworker Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.