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Oral history interview with Bruce Metcalf, 2009 June 10

Interviewee:
Metcalf, Bruce, 1949-  Search this
Interviewer:
Cooke, Edward S., 1954-  Search this
Subject:
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
Arneson, Robert  Search this
Bauer, Fred  Search this
Bennett, Jamie  Search this
Burns, Mark  Search this
Church, Sharon  Search this
Clark, Garth  Search this
Craig, Gabriel  Search this
Cummins, Susan  Search this
Daley, William  Search this
Ebendorf, Robert  Search this
Eidelberg, Martin P.  Search this
Flynn, Pat  Search this
Getty, Nilda  Search this
Gill, John  Search this
Griffin, Gary  Search this
Halem, Henry  Search this
Hammer, Wayne  Search this
Hash, Arthur  Search this
Jerry, Michael John  Search this
Long, Randy  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent)  Search this
Koplos, Janet  Search this
Koss, Gene  Search this
Kumata, Carol  Search this
La Plantz, David  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley  Search this
Matzdorf, Kurt  Search this
Mawdsley, Richard  Search this
Moran, Lois  Search this
Morris, William H.  Search this
Pritchard, Marian  Search this
Rogers, Harriet  Search this
Rogers, Steve  Search this
Ruskin, John  Search this
Schaechter, Judith  Search this
Shaw, Richard  Search this
Slivka, Rose  Search this
Slosberg, Jill  Search this
Wilson, Anne  Search this
Woell, J. Fred  Search this
Colorado State University  Search this
Kent State University  Search this
Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
State University of New York at New Paltz  Search this
Syracuse University  Search this
Tyler School of Art  Search this
University of the Arts (Philadelphia, Pa.)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
California -- description and travel
Seoul (Korea) -- Description and travel
Topic:
Ceramics  Search this
Communism  Search this
Deconstructivism (Architecture)  Search this
Conceptual art  Search this
Formalism (Art)  Search this
Jewelers -- Pennsylvania -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)16051
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)310185
AAA_collcode_metcal09
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_310185
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Boris Bally, 2009 May 26-27

Interviewee:
Bally, Boris, 1961-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Agro, Elisabeth R.  Search this
Ballay, Joe  Search this
Bonner, Jonathan  Search this
Cianci, Vincent Albert, Jr.  Search this
Dahm, Johanna  Search this
Ebendorf, Robert  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster)  Search this
Gialamas, Rosemary  Search this
Greenbaum, Toni  Search this
Holt, Steven  Search this
Ilse-Neuman, Ursula  Search this
Kangas, Matthew  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent)  Search this
Kowal, Dennis  Search this
Kumata, Carol  Search this
Künzli, Otto  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley  Search this
Metcalf, Bruce  Search this
Nasher, Patsy  Search this
Nasher, Raymond  Search this
Raab, Rosanne  Search this
Schaffner, Alexander  Search this
Simon, Marjorie  Search this
Skov, Mara Holt  Search this
Warhola, Paul  Search this
Wood, Joe  Search this
Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)  Search this
Snyderman Gallery  Search this
Comedy Central (Firm)  Search this
Massachusetts College of Art  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Penland School of Crafts  Search this
Society of Arts and Crafts (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Tyler School of Art  Search this
Velvet da Vinci Gallery  Search this
Works Gallery  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Haiti -- description and travel
Switzerland -- description and travel
Topic:
Art -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art and computers  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Designers -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture making  Search this
Jewelry making  Search this
Metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-workers -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Models and modelmaking  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15682
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)282774
AAA_collcode_bally09
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_282774
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Boris Bally

Interviewee:
Bally, Boris  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) -- Faculty  Search this
Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) -- Students  Search this
Comedy Central (Firm)  Search this
Massachusetts College of Art -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Penland School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Snyderman Gallery  Search this
Society of Arts and Crafts (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Tyler School of Art -- Students  Search this
Velvet da Vinci Gallery  Search this
Works Gallery  Search this
Agro, Elisabeth R.  Search this
Ballay, Joe, 1938-  Search this
Bonner, Jonathan, 1947-  Search this
Cianci, Vincent Albert, Jr., 1941-2016  Search this
Dahm, Johanna  Search this
Ebendorf, Robert, 1938-  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983  Search this
Gialamas, Rosemary, 1962-  Search this
Greenbaum, Toni  Search this
Holt, Steven, 1957-  Search this
Ilse-Neuman, Ursula  Search this
Kangas, Matthew  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Kowal, Dennis  Search this
Kumata, Carol  Search this
Künzli, Otto, 1948-  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley, 1936-  Search this
Metcalf, Bruce, 1949-  Search this
Nasher, Patsy  Search this
Nasher, Raymond  Search this
Raab, Rosanne  Search this
Schaffner, Alexander  Search this
Simon, Marjorie  Search this
Skov, Mara Holt  Search this
Warhola, Paul  Search this
Wood, Joe, 1954-  Search this
Extent:
4 Sound discs (Sound recording (5 hr., 55 min.), digital)
109 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound discs
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Haiti -- description and travel
Switzerland -- description and travel
Date:
2009 May 26-27
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Boris Bally conducted 2009 May 26-27, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Bally's home and studio, in Providence, Rhode Island.
The artists speaks of his current studio in Providence, Rhode Island; working without a studio assistant; the benefits of working with studio assistants without an art-school background; apprenticing with Swiss metalsmith Alexander Schaffner when Bally was 19; his own de facto apprenticeship program with his studio assistants; his parents as role models; his vision at age 19 for his career plan; his early interest in CAD; growing up with Swiss-born parents, both with art/design backgrounds; visiting Switzerland as a child; his father's studies with Buckminster Fuller in the late 1950s; his mother's class with L. Brent Kington, whom Bally later studied with; growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; his first home metal shop at nine years old; his first formal metal class at about 14 years old; making and selling jewelry throughout his teens; informal apprenticeship with Jeff Whisner; his father's design firm, launched in his last year of high school; summer studying at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts; year-long apprenticeship in Switzerland; watching Schaffner make and sell a wide variety of objects, which later informed Bally's own perspective; his continuing relationship with Schaffner; undergraduate studies at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; studying with Daniella Kerner and Vickie Sedman at Tyler; transferring to Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to study with Carol Kumata; making a "happiness machine"; transition from jewelry to larger sculptures; using found and scavenged materials; meeting Rosemary Gialamas (Roy) and their eventual elopement; moving to the Boston area; work as an industrial design model-maker; the New York art scene of the 1980s; representation with Archetype Gallery, New York, New York; slow but steady artistic recognition and commercial success of his functional objects; Sliding Perfections, flatware; teaching Gialamas metalsmithing and collaborative works by the two; early teaching experience in adult education classes in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston; return to Pittsburgh in 1989, where Bally took a teaching position at Carnegie Mellon in the design department; studio on Bigelow Boulevard; difficulties in his marriage; a commission from the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Massachusetts, and the beginnings of his traffic sign pieces in a collaborative piece with Gialamas; starting his platters series; the dissolution of his marriage to Gialamas in 1993; meeting Lynn, whom he later married; his love of teaching and his teaching philosophy; teaching at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina; move to Providence, Rhode Island, to devote his time to studio work; the pros and cons of craft and arts schools versus university settings; the intersection of art, design, and industry: his Humanufactured line of products; functional work in the late '80s, and the influence of a trip to Haiti in the 1980s; bottle cork pieces; Trirod vessels; "More than One: Contemporary Studio Production" exhibition, American Craft Museum, New York, New York, 1992-94; philosophy of making; working in series form; truss pieces; perforation pieces and Vessel with a Silver Heart (1993); armform series; "Jewelries, Epiphanies" exhibition, Artists Foundation Gallery at Cityplace, Boston, Massachusetts, 1990; inclusion in One of a Kind: American Art Jewelry Today, by Susan Grant Lewin. (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1994); series Dig Wear and Eat Wear bracelets; Calimbo vessel and the Fortunoff prize; gold Tread Wear brooches in the mid-1990s; creating his first chair; moving from hand-made solo work to furniture and a design and production focus; starting to patent his designs in the mid-1990s; further exploration of design and technique in his chairs; "GlassWear: Glass in Contemporary Jewelry," Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York, 2009; Pistol Chalice and work with the Pittsburgh gun buyback program; traveling exhibition for the project; Gun Totem; Brave necklace; BroadWay armchair; Subway chair; new techniques for graphics on the furniture; his relationship with former scrapyard Paul Warhola, brother to Andy Warhol; commission work, and the importance of commerce in his career and worldview; commission for Comedy Central television network; the changing craft market and the boom times of the 1980s; work with galleries, including: Patina, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, California; Snyderman-Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Nancy Sachs Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri; the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Massachusetts; seeing one of his pieces used on a set for a daytime television soap opera and in the movie Sex and the City ; the recent "green" (environmentally conscious) trend; blurring boundaries of design and art and craft; growing acceptance of artist-made and -designed multiples; pros and cons of computer technology in art and craft; the pros and cons of the DIY (do-it-yourself) craft movement; influential writers, including Rosanne Raab, Marjorie Simon, Steven Skov Holt and Mara Holt Skov, Bruce Metcalf, Toni Greenbaum, Matthew Kangas, Gail Brown; his involvement in the Society of North American Goldsmiths; making metal benches for his children. He also recalls Heather Guidero, Julian Jetten, Pam Moloughney, Dennis Kowal, Ursula Ilse-Neuman, Bob Ebendorf, Jason Spencer, Rob Brandegee and Ava DeMarco, Stefan Gougherty, Flo Delgado, L. Brent Kington, Curtis Aric, Ralph Düby, Steve Korpa, Joe Wood, Joe Ballay, Yves Thomann, Andy Caderas, James Thurman, Nicholas (Nico) Bally, Elena Gialamas, James Gialamas, Elvira Peake, Ronald McNeish, Johanna Dahm, Jerry Bennet, Kathleen Mulcahy, Nelson Maniscalco, Tom Mann, Otto Künzli, Stanley Lechtzin, Christopher Shellhammer, David Tisdale, Dean Powell, Daniel Carner, Donald Brecker, Robert Schroeder Phil Carrizzi, Lucy Stewart, Elisabeth Agro, Rachel Layton, Sarah Nichols, Peter Nassoit, Dan Niebels, Mary Carothers, Ward Wallau, Ivan Barnett and Alison Buchsbaum, Jonathan Bonner, Raymond and Patsy Nasher, Beth Gerstein, George Summers Jr., Pavel Opocensky, Buddy Cianci, David Cicilline.
Biographical / Historical:
Boris Bally (1961- ) is a metalsmith and designer who lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. Bally was educated at Carnegie Mellon University and Tyler School of Art.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 11 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 56 min.
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Sculptors  Search this
Topic:
Art -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art and computers  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Designers -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture making  Search this
Jewelry making  Search this
Metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-workers -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Models and modelmaking  Search this
Function:
Artists' studios
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.bally09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bally09

Oral history interview with Bruce Metcalf

Interviewee:
Metcalf, Bruce, 1949-  Search this
Interviewer:
Cooke, Edward S., 1954-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Colorado State University -- Faculty  Search this
Kent State University -- Faculty  Search this
Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
State University of New York at New Paltz -- Students  Search this
Syracuse University -- Students  Search this
Tyler School of Art -- Students  Search this
University of the Arts (Philadelphia, Pa.) -- Faculty  Search this
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
Arneson, Robert, 1930-1992  Search this
Bauer, Fred  Search this
Bennett, Jamie, 1948-  Search this
Burns, Mark, 1950-  Search this
Church, Sharon, 1948-  Search this
Clark, Garth, 1947-  Search this
Craig, Gabriel  Search this
Cummins, Susan  Search this
Daley, William, 1925-  Search this
Ebendorf, Robert, 1938-  Search this
Eidelberg, Martin P.  Search this
Flynn, Pat, 1954-  Search this
Getty, Nilda  Search this
Gill, John, 1949-  Search this
Griffin, Gary, 1945-  Search this
Halem, Henry  Search this
Hammer, Wayne  Search this
Hash, Arthur, 1976-  Search this
Jerry, Michael John, 1937-  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Koplos, Janet  Search this
Koss, Gene  Search this
Kumata, Carol  Search this
La Plantz, David  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley, 1936-  Search this
Long, Randy  Search this
Matzdorf, Kurt  Search this
Mawdsley, Richard, 1945-  Search this
Moran, Lois  Search this
Morris, William H., 1834-1896  Search this
Pritchard, Marian  Search this
Rogers, Harriet  Search this
Rogers, Steve  Search this
Ruskin, John, 1819-1900  Search this
Schaechter, Judith, 1961-  Search this
Shaw, Richard, 1941 Sept. 12-  Search this
Slivka, Rose  Search this
Slosberg, Jill  Search this
Wilson, Anne, 1949-  Search this
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Extent:
96 Pages (Transcript)
5 Items (Sound recording: 5 sound files (4 hr., 10 min.), digital, wav)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
California -- description and travel
Seoul (Korea) -- Description and Travel
Date:
2009 June 10
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Bruce Metcalf conducted 2009 June 10, by Edward S. Cooke, Jr., for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Metcalf's home, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Mr. Metcalf discusses his early years in Amherst, Massachusetts; beginnings as a maker with modeling clay and plastic airplane models; undergraduate years at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York in the late 1960s; early interest in architecture; early disenchantment with modernist discourse and theory; introduction to Marxist theory and idealism of the 1960s; summer trip to California in 1970; return to the East Coast upon the death of his father; return to college, transferring into jewelry in his senior year; influence of his teacher Michael Jerry; seeing the work in "Objects: USA" exhibition (1969) and influence of the work of J. Fred Woell, Richard Mawdsley, L. Brent Kington; rejection of current trends in art, including conceptual art and formalism; his affinity for the medium of metal, and hammersmithing; influence of funk ceramics, including work by Fred Bauer and Richard Shaw; brief stint at Montana State University, Bozeman; working in cardboard and wood; graduate school at the State University of New York, New Paltz; working with Robert Ebendorf and Kurt Matzdorf at New Paltz; work as a production artist/craftsperson; attending Rhinebeck, New York, craft fair in the mid-1970s; the influence of writings by William Morris and John Ruskin and the notion of "dignified labor"; graduate school at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; formulating his aesthetic of narrative symbolism; publication of his first article in 1977 as a response to review of the exhibition "Forms in Metal: 275 Years of Metalsmithing in America" (1975); yearlong teaching position at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; taking a teaching position at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (1986-1991); publication of his article "Crafts: Second-Class Citizens?" in the first issue of Metalsmith, 1980; growing involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths; development of his notion of "social utility" and the role and function of crafts and making; expansion of his writing on craft; rejection of the deconstructivist school of thought in the 1980s; abandonment of sculptural objects for jewelry in the early 1990s; return to Philadelphia in 1991; early teaching of history of craft, first at Kent, then on a Fulbright scholarship in Seoul, South Korea (1990), later at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, in the early 1990s; influence of Martin Eidelberg; development of his vision for a history of craft course; collaboration with Janet Koplos on "Makers: A History of American Studio Craft"; use of his medium and craft to explore issues of nurturing and anxiety; the psychological/social effect and aesthetic importance of wearing jewelry (for the wearer and the artist); the pros and cons of craft collectors; the problematics of installation work by craft artists; recent trends in craft, including Anne Wilson's notion of "sloppy craft" and an "anti-craft" attitude; recent artists, including Arthur Hash and Gabriel Craig; lack of exhibition opportunities for younger/emerging artists; influential recent texts, including "Shards," by Garth Clark. He also recalls Robert Arneson, Randy Long, Carol Kumata, Jamie Bennett, Steve and Harriet Rogers, Wayne Hammer, Stanley Lechtzin, Gene Koss, Henry Halem, Mark Burns, Rose Slivka, Nilda Getty, Jill Slosberg, Sharon Church, John Gill, David La Plantz, Lois Moran; Gary Griffin; William Daley, Marian Pritchard, Glenn Adamson, Pat Flynn, Susan Cummins, and Judith Schaechter.
The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Bruce Metcalf on June 10, 2009. The interview took place in Bala Cynwyd, Penn., and was conducted by Edward S. Cooke, Jr. for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. This interview is part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Bruce Metcalf has reviewed the transcript. His corrections and emendations appear below in brackets with initials. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.
Biographical / Historical:
Bruce Metcalf (1949- ) is a jeweler and writer in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
General:
Originally recorded as 5 sound files. Duration is 4 hr., 10 min.
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.
Restrictions:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Ceramics  Search this
Communism  Search this
Deconstructivism (Architecture)  Search this
Conceptual art  Search this
Formalism (Art)  Search this
Jewelers -- Pennsylvania -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.metcal09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-metcal09

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