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'Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism' on view at Cranbrook Art Museum
Paul Evans (1931-1987), Cabinet (Skyline Cabinet). Conn Family Trust. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI.- In a new documentary, musician Lenny Kravitz says the work of Paul Evans is, “stunningly beautiful, stunningly ugly, stunningly tacky, stunningly sophisticated.” This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of Evans's work, documenting his role in the midcentury American studio furniture movement, his approach to furniture as sculpture and abstract composition, and his unremitting new approaches to metal.

Seen earlier this year at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and now on view at the Cranbrook Art Museum—the only other venue for the exhibition—Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism is comprised of 68 works, spanning the artist's entire career. It includes choice examples of Evans's early metalwork and jewelry, collaborative pieces made by Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell during the 1950s when they shared a studio, as well as a comprehensive selection of Evans's studio work representing his sculpted steel; verdigris copper; copper, bronze and pewter; argenté sculpted bronze, and cityscape techniques.

The show also includes examples of Evans's sculpture and a selection of work he produced for Directional Furniture Company. The presentation at Cranbrook Art Museum includes work by Evans’s contemporaries selected from Cranbrook’s permanent collection, including the celebrated Shuey Collection, placing his pioneering designs for furniture with the context of concurrent trends in midcentury art and design. Evans studied Metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1952 and 1953, working with Artist-in-Residence Richard Thomas.

Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism was organized by the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and curated by Constance Kimmerle. The presentation at Cranbrook is supported, in part, by the David Klein and Kathryn Ostrove Exhibition Fund.

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