Image: Installation view, Free Form: 20th-Century Studio Craft. Photo by Mitro Hood.

Free Form: 20th-Century Studio Craft


This exhibition presents a selection of embroidery, ceramics, and jewelry by innovative mid-century American artists who shifted away from the functional aspect of craft towards an avant-garde engagement with abstraction and expression. Objects featured include works by textile artist Mariska Karasz, a Hungarian immigrant to the U.S. who moved away from her established business as a women’s clothing designer to focus on embroidery as an artistic practice; Baltimore-area designer and embroiderer Gloria Balder Katzenberg, who was influenced by Karasz’s philosophy and produced works that evoke gardens, ponds, fireworks, or celestial scenes with unconventional materials; ceramic artists Gertrud and Otto Natzler, who fled Nazi-occupied Austria and founded their own workshop in Los Angeles, California, in 1938; and metalsmith and jewelry maker Betty Cooke, a nationally acclaimed Baltimore native and an alumnus of the Maryland Institute College of Art who began her career in the mid-1940s and is still making work today.

Curated by Virginia Anderson, Curator of American Art

This exhibition is supported by Susan B. Katzenberg, in memory of Gloria Balder Katzenberg, and Carol Macht, in honor of Betty Cooke.

Additional support comes from the Jean and Allan Berman Textile Endowment Fund.