An interview with Michael W. Monroe conducted 2018 January 22-March 1, by Lloyd Herman, for the Archives of American Art, at the home of Michael Monroe and at the home of Lloyd Herman, in Seattle, Washington.
Monroe speaks of his childhood in Racine, Wisconsin; his Danish immigrant community and early exposure to Danish design; early experiences of art-making; his art and teaching education at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee; experiences with Midwestern art museums in adolescence and young adulthood; his graduate art education at the Cranbrook Academy of Art; his work as gallery director at SUNY Oneonta in the early 1970s; his approach to evaluating and curating craftwork; his curatorial tenure and close collaboration with Herman at the Renwick Gallery; securing the Renwick's Albert Paley gates; his lifestyle in the Washington, DC area; the American craft movement's shift towards the marketplace, social media, and quick do-it-yourself methods; organizing the "Craft Multiples" traveling exhibition; the beginning of the Renwick's collections policy; organizing "Celebration: A World of Art and Ritual;" organizing the White House Collection of Crafts and its eventual transfer to the Clinton Presidential Library; his continued involvement with the craft world after retirement from the Renwick; his tenure as executive director of the Bellevue Arts Museum; his mentorship of young craft artists; and his sense of the past and future of American crafts. Monroe also recalls Sylvester Jerry, Cherry Barr Jerry, Robert Verizer, Robert Kidd, George Ortman, Julius Schmidt, Richard DeVore, Steve Frykholm, Jon Eric Riis, Arturo Sandoval, Gretchen Bellinger, Bernadette Monroe, Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly, William Harper, Wendell Castle, Françoise Grossen, Claire Zeisler, Sarah Booth Conroy, Sheila Hicks, Dale Chihuly, Arthur Mason, Jane Mason, Betty Ford, Joan Mondale, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Paul Gottlieb, Peter Joseph, Matthew Kangas, Mark Haley, Nora Atkinson, and others. Herman recalls Susan Mellon, Joshua Taylor, Paul Gardner, Charles Eldredge, Elizabeth Broun, Paul Smith, Rose Slivka, Diane Douglas, Janet Kardon, William Morris, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Michael W. Monroe (1940- ) is director emeritus of the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington. Lloyd Herman (1936- ) is the founding director (emeritus) of the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. who resides in Seattle, Washington.
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.
The transcript and recording are open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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