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Oral history interview with Howard Ben Tre, 2007 July 7

view Oral history interview with Howard Ben Tre, 2007 July 7 digital asset number 1
Interviewee:
Ben Tré, Howard, 1949-
Interviewer:
Shea, Josephine, 1958-
Subject:
LaMonte, Karen
Libenský, Stanislav
Littleton, Harvey K.
Parker, Anthony
Labino, Dominick
Hampson, Ferdinand
Polander, Steve
Aycock, Alice
Chihuly, Dale
Onorato, Ronald J.
Scanga, Italo
Dailey, Dan Owen
Brychtová, Jaroslava
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
Brooklyn College
Pilchuck School
Rhode Island School of Design
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Missouri Valley College
Venceremos Brigade
Portland State College
Brooklyn Technical High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Cristallerie Daum
Appalachian Center for Craft
Hadler/Rodriguez Gallery
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Rhode Island
Physical Description:
Transcript: 63 pages
3 sound discs (4 hr., 3 min.) : digital ; 2 5/8 in.
General Note:
Originally recorded 3 sound discs. Reformated in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 3 min.
Summary:
An interview of Howard Ben Tré conducted 2007 July 7, by Josephine Shea, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's studio, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Ben Tré speaks of his childhood in Rockaway Park, New York; his Polish immigrant father who was a woodworker and artist; inheriting a particular aesthetic and sense of hard work from his father; attending Brooklyn Technical High School to play football but not graduating; moving to Marshall, Missouri to attend Missouri Valley College for one year; attending Brooklyn College; becoming involved in Students for a Democratic Society, the antiwar movement and civil rights movement of the 1960s; traveling to Cuba as part of the first Venceremos Brigade to cut sugarcane in 1969; meeting his first wife, Gay, in Cuba and returning to New York with her; organizing a food co-op and community events in Brooklyn; moving to Portland, Oregon; working in construction for the city before going back to school to study veterinarian medicine at Portland State University; discovering the glass studio in a garage at Portland State; meeting Dale Chihuly and working at Pilchuck Glass School; utilizing the foundry skills learned from Brooklyn Technical High to work with glass in casting and cope and drag methods; his series Burial Boxes and the influence of ancient architecture and ceremonial Chinese bronzes; the rise of the studio glass movement as symptomatic of socio-political-economic times, not just the pioneering efforts of Harvey Littleton and Dominic Labino; traveling throughout Europe with Gay; visiting Stanislav Libenský and Jaraslava Brychtová in Czechoslovakia; visiting Dan Dailey at Cristallerie Daum in France; attending Rhode Island School of Design [RISD]; his first show at Hadler / Rodriguez Gallery in 1980; teaching experiences at Haystack Mountain School of Craft and Appalachian Center for Craft; building and installing an oven at Blenko Glass in Milton, West Virginia and at Super Glass in Brooklyn; working with Mold Melted Glass Studio in Pelechov, Czech Republic; the history of glass and early glass-working techniques; his many commissions, including sited public projects such as Post Office Square in Boston; the adoption of his name, Ben Tré; return visits to Cuba; working with RISD to create a winter study session in Havana; and his view of artists as artists, not defined by medium. Ben Tré also recalls Anthony Parker, Italo Scanga, Ron Onorato, Alice Aycock, Ferdinand Hampson, Steven Polaner, Karen LaMonte, among others.
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Howard Ben Tre, 2007 July 7. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding:
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Biography Note:
Howard Ben Tré (1949- ) is a glass artist from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Josephine Shea is a curator from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Topic:
Civil rights
Sound recordings
Glass artists
Interviews
Art
Glass art
Peace movements
Decorative arts
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13647
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)272881
AAA_collcode_bentre07
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
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