A Theory of Craft: Function and Aesthetic Expression

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Sep 15, 2009 - Crafts & Hobbies - 352 pages
What is craft? How is it different from fine art or design? In A Theory of Craft, Howard Risatti examines these issues by comparing handmade ceramics, glass, metalwork, weaving, and furniture to painting, sculpture, photography, and machine-made design from Bauhaus to the Memphis Group. He describes craft as uniquely blending function with a deeper expression of human values that transcend culture, time, and space. Craft must articulate a role for itself in contemporary society, says Risatti; otherwise it will be absorbed by fine art or design, and its singular approach to understanding the world will be lost.


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A theory of craft: function and aesthetic expression

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This scholarly work lays out reasons for the historical dichotomy in Western philosophy between fine art and craft. Risatti (art history, emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.; Postmodern Perspectives ... Read full review

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An interesting and thought-out approach to a difficult topic. At times it can seem a little academic, but it's certainly worth reading if you are looking for a deep dive into the subject, as opposed to more surface-level explorations such as "Shop Class as Soul Craft".


PracticalFunctional Arts and the Uniqueness of Craft Questions about Terminology
Craft and Fine Art
Issues of Craft and Design
Aesthetic Objects and Aesthetic Images

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About the author (2009)

Howard Risatti is professor emeritus of art history at Virginia Commonwealth University. His four previous books include Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery and Postmodern Perspectives: Issues in Contemporary Art.

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