Oral history interview with Paul J. Smith, 2010 April 19-20
Smith, Paul J., 1931-
Herman, Lloyd E., 1936-
American Crafts Council.Museum of Contemporary Crafts
American Craftsmen's Council
Museum of Arts and Design (New York, N.Y.)
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
New York (State)
Transcript: 61 pages
Originally recorded on 6 secure digital memory cards. Reformated in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 17 min.
An interview of Paul J. Smith conducted 2010 April 19 and 20, by Lloyd E. Herman, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Smith's home, in New York, N.Y.
Smith recalls his childhood; attending the Art Institute of Buffalo; working in display at the Flint & Kent department store in Buffalo; his interest in "hobby crafts" and greater exploration of jewelry and wood; exhibiting; joining the staff of the American Craftsmen's Council; becoming director of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts; developing the museum's program and international focus; organizing the "Objects: USA" exhibition in 1969; developing the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts (in 1979 renamed the American Craft Museum); the 30th anniversary exhibition, "Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical," in 1986; becoming director emeritus; the "Craft Today USA" tour, 1989-1993; developing a consulting service; serving as guest curator; special projects; interest in photography; the current DIY movement as a continuum of the past.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Paul J. Smith, 2010 April 19-20. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Paul J. Smith (1931- ) is Director Emeritus of the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Arts and Design) in New York, N.Y.
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.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001