FORM Culture: Fouladi Projects’ Makers

Paris-based ceramist Claire DeLavallee’s work appears in the window at Fouladi Projects. Her pieces are some of the first to be included in the gallery’s Maker Program exhibitions. Image courtesy Fouladi Projects.

For the past 10 years, Fouladi Projects has been exhibiting the work of a wide range of artists at its San Francisco gallery. Recently, the gallery, under founder Alexandra Holly Fouladi, introduced the Maker Program. Now, exhibitions featuring the work of functional artists will rotate with shows for fine artists. “The Maker Program,” says Fouladi, “allows us to share the work of amazing artists and encourages us to bring the work into our lives— the integration of art and life.” Intrigued by the new endeavor, we spoke with the gallerist about the program and the relationship between fine and functional art. 

Do you see the line between fine art and functional art blurring?

Yes, because I’ve seen the lines between “fine art” and “craft” being blurred for a while now, and the reasons that segregated them from the start are becoming less and less important. While craft is a much closer cousin to functional art than it is to fine art, they all stem from design and so the degrees of separation among all of the categories are shrinking. 

Will that line ever be completely blurred?

It’s possible but unlikely. The tradition of putting fine art on a pedestal has deep roots and it would be hard to yank them out entirely. 

How much are you contributing to the blurring of that line?

By showcasing works in the gallery that are traditionally categorized as “fine art” (drawings, paintings, sculpture, etc.) alongside “functional art” (ceramics, glass, furniture, etc.) we are highlighting that they can compliment each other and need not be segregated. In fact, they can enhance each other, and it is sometimes it is difficult to tell one from the other . . . DeLavallee’s a ceramic vase that cannot hold water; Esque’s hand-sculpted glass birds; fine artist Bill Culberts suitcase with florescent.

How do you choose the participants in the maker program? What are you looking at in particular?

In a similar way that we choose our fine artists. We are drawn to makers that have a mastery of the chosen medium, a compelling process and a unique design sensibility. 

Are there any themes going in the world of functional art at the moment?

There is a lot of people working with wood. But no one does it like Paul Disco/Joinery Structure! Ceramics has also has been enjoying the spotlight for a while now. I think we will see more nostalgia for lost crafts to balance out the disconnect people feel for living in a increasingly digital world. 

Will fashion play into future maker shows?

I hope so! We have a few artists on our list from the fashion world that we are considering right now!

 

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