Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 3:06pm

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of Imogene Powers Johnson on May 3, 2018, at the age of 87. Gene, as she was affectionately known, moved to Racine when she married the late Sam Johnson who was the longtime Chairman of SC Johnson. She became a major benefactor in her adopted community, supporting a wide range of causes, placing particular emphasis on her two passions of education and the environment. Gene is particularly known for founding The Prairie School in Racine but was also instrumental in the establishment of River Bend Nature Center and 21st Century Preparatory School. A warmhearted person with a welcoming smile to all who approached her, Gene also funded the Community Art Projects that placed artist-decorated sculptures throughout the city’s center during summer months. At RAM, we are very grateful to Gene for her long-term support of the museum’s efforts and for the generous contributions we received from her and her family that made the museum downtown possible.|

The Imogene Powers Johnson Memorial Fund has been established at RAM and contributions are welcome.


Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 4:32pm

We are sorry to share with you news of the death of another major figure in the contemporary ceramics field. The nationally known ceramic sculptor and educator, Paula Winokur died on February 4, 2018 at the age of 82. She made her reputation creating porcelain sculptures that referenced the landscape. Their white surfaces were folded and manipulated in ways that recall how the land and its elements change and shift over periods of time. Some of her wall pieces are subtly colored with glazes and ceramic pencil drawings. Sometimes, she would include a ceramic piece of fruit or a bowl within these works, recalling a table top still life. In her later career, Winokur’s work became larger in scale and even more directly depicted nature’s rock and ice formations. Her large floor piece in RAM’s collection, Glacier IV: Calving, 2010, dramatically captures this natural process executed in porcelain segments. RAM also holds a drawing and a wall sculpture by the artist.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Winokur taught at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania from 1973 until retirement in 2003. She is a Fellow of the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council and Winokur’s work can be found in many museum permanent collections including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

To read more about her career


Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 4:24pm

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of polymer artist Tory Hughes on February 18, 2018 at the age of 59. Hughes, who was based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was an internationally known artist, teacher, and innovator who was a revered figure in the US polymer field. As an artist, she was particularly adept at using the polymer medium to mimic other materials including the surfaces of marble, metal, ivory, and semi-precious stones such as malachite. She used the techniques she developed to create handmade books, vessels, containers that had movable sections, and jewelry. Many of these were either totally created in polymer or polymer combined with other materials. In each instance, it is often difficult to determine which part of a Hughes work was created by the artist and which she has gathered from another source and collaged into the piece—an indicator of her talent. 

To learn more about this polymer innovator, visit Polymer Clay Archives

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 3:39pm

We are sorry to share with you news of the death of another major figure in the contemporary craft field. The internationally recognized furniture maker, Wendell Castle died in his Scottsville, New York, home at the age of 85 on January 20. Recognized as the “father of the art furniture movement,” Castle was a prominent figure in the late twentieth century, known for regularly blurring the boundaries that existed between handmade furniture and sculpture. A native of Emporia, Kansas, Castle reimagined the forms furniture could take, working primarily in wood and bronze. In his early career, he pioneered the use of stack laminating to create unusual expressive forms for functional pieces and in the early 1980s he produced a series of trompe l’oeil works. Later, he responded to Art Deco and Neoclassicism traditions and styles. In his 70s and 80s, Castle, who worked up until the end of his life, began to employ digital technology for the creation of new pieces. The advancements Castle created at all stages of his career were enthusiastically supported by exhibitions around the world and numerous publications.

His pieces can be found in the permanent collections of over 50 major international museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria + Albert Museum in London. RAM currently holds eight examples of his work dating from 1967 through 1996. This includes his important stack lamination Desk that was included in the groundbreaking craft exhibition Objects: USA in 1969. He is survived by his wife, the ceramic sculptor Nancy Jurs. 


Read more about his career here

Read more in USAToday

Read more in Hyperallergic


Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 4:31pm

We announce, with sadness, the death of internationally respected ceramic sculptor Betty Woodman on January 2, at the age of 87. Woodman’s career developed during an era when it was challenging for ceramic artists and for women to have the same kinds of full careers their male colleagues in the sculpture field were able to attain. However, she managed to produce an impressive body of work in a career of remarkable achievements. She moved from her early work in functional ceramics to creating large-scale sculptural versions of the pitchers, vases, and ewers she saw historically produced by a number of civilizations. These works were joyfully decorated with lushly colored abstract glazes. As the scale of these works grew, Woodman began to create installations out of groupings of vessels or stacked arrangements of vase forms. She frequently painted backgrounds and alcoves for these installations. This work in painting also led her to create limited edition graphics and monoprints.

Woodman is represented in most major museum collections that cover the 20th century ceramics field. She was inducted into the American Craft Council’s College of Fellows in 1996 and was awarded the ACC’s Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship in 2014.  In 2006, she was the first living female artist to have a retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. RAM is proud to own six examples of her work.
Read more about her career
Read more in The New York Times

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 3:19pm

We have learned, with sadness, of the recent death of significant contemporary craft artist, Marjorie Schick. A pioneer in contemporary art jewelry, Schick created non-traditional adornment, often colorful and over-sized. Her work is in RAM’s permanent collection and it was prominently featured in RAM’s 2011 exhibition, To Wear or Not to Wear

To read more about her career