Twelve Leaf Resin Table by MICHAEL HURWITZ [Elected Fellow, American Craft Council, 2014]
Ash, wenge, epoxy resin.
16"H x 40"diameter
Photo: David Harrison
is synonymous with
the finest work in American furniture making since 1981.
As the country's oldest established gallery
associated with the American studio furniture movement,
PRITAM & EAMES represents a celebrated group
(Vivian Beer, Ted Blachly, Andy Buck, Wendell Castle, Tim Coleman, Michael Cullen,
John Dunnigan, David Ebner, Hank Gilpin, Duncan Gowdy, Noel & Janene Hilliard,
Thomas Hucker, Michael Hurwitz,
Tony Kenway, James Krenov,
Gary Magakis, John Makepeace,
Alphonse Mattia, Judy Kensley McKie, Don Miller, Brian Newell,
Richard Scott Newman,
Craig Nutt, Jere Osgood, Timothy Philbrick, Zivko Radenkov,
Greg Smith, Richard Tannen, Fran Taubman,
Tim Wells, Howard Werner)
whose distinctly personal work is
convincing proof of America's strength in the decorative arts.
In addition to the one-of-a-kind and limited edition furniture,
the gallery initiated its Art at Home series that features paintings and drawings by
Linda Capello, Aubrey Grainger, and Karen Kluglein,
as well as functional work in ceramics, glass, holloware and jewelry.
2014 Award of Distinction
Bebe and Warren Johnson Photo: Sabine Hindra
The Furniture Society is proud to announce
the 2014 Award of Distinction Honorees,
Warren & Bebe Johnson
Notes from Andrew Glasgow, past Executive Director of The Furniture Society
and the American Craft Council, about this year's honorees:
The dynamic duo being recognized with this year's Furniture Society Award of Distinction is the inimitable Bebe Pritam Johnson and Warren Eames Johnson. I think it is safe to say that without Bebe and Warren it is unlikely that there would be a Furniture Society as we know it. I know I would have never been on the radar without Bebe's encouragement. I owe her a great deal.
Most of us know Bebe and Warren as the thoughtful, careful, and intentional owners of Pritam & Eames, the nation's premier gallery for Studio Furniture. One wonders, however, what brought them to this point.
Warren and Bebe both studied philosophy early in their academic careers. After receiving her Master's degree in Communications from Boston University, Bebe would begin her real-world career and become Director, Asian Program Operations at the Council on International Educational Exchange in New York. Warren studied law and received a LLB from the University of Illinois, and pursued graduate economics at MIT. His career took a turn, however, when the Johnsons moved to New York, and he ended up studying film at Columbia University where he received an MFA. Warren co-authored a book on film production, taught film at various institutions including Columbia, and was cameraman/editor on a number of internationally-based documentaries. After an interesting and successful decade, Warren and Bebe decided it was time for a change.
So, following the likes of De Kooning, Pollack and Larsen, they decamped to East Hampton, a bit before the glitterati of the ‘80s and ‘90s and, in another turn of career, carved out a life dedicated to craft: educating and offering to the public -- a public that sought them out in a historic old steam laundry building in East Hampton that became Pritam & Eames -- an opportunity to acquire and live with this work. For the last 33 years, Pritam & Eames has existed, both powerfully and quietly, out in Long Island for a very appreciative public.
Bebe and Warren were not satisfied with just selling the best studio furniture, they were also ambitious to contribute to the growing body of literature about this decorative arts field. This ambition led to conversations with makers and other intelligent aficionados that resulted in the publication of their book, Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters [The Artist Book Foundation, 2013].
Personally, I can't imagine anyone more deserving of the Award of Distinction than Bebe Pritam Johnson and Warren Eames Johnson. They built and crafted a business that has sustained them, given a boost to grateful makers, and played an important part in building the dialogue that underpins today's studio furniture movement.
This year's Award of Distinction ceremony was hosted at the FS14 conference in Port Townsend, Washington, on June 21.
More About the Award of Distinction
Instituted in 2001, the Award of Distinction is presented annually during The Furniture Society conference to one or more individuals who are recognized as having had a profound impact on the field. The honorees exemplify lives devoted to study, work and craft, and to the education of others. Past honorees include Sam Maloof, James Krenov, Tage Frid, Wendell Castle, Art Espenet Carpenter, John Makepeace, Alan Peters, Jere Osgood, Jonathan Fairbanks, William Keyser, Garry Knox Bennett, Judy Kensley McKie, Tommy Simpson, Michael Fortune, Walker Weed, Wendy Maruyama, Vladimir Kagan, John Cederquist, and Roseanne Somerson.
The Furniture Society is a nonprofit, educational organization founded in 1996. Its mission is to advance the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence, and fostering an understanding of this art and its place in society.
Visit www.furnituresociety.org to become a member or renew your membership.
Cover: Richard Scott Newman, Umbrella Stand, 1984 (detail).
Pearwood, ebony, and ormolu, 32 in. high x 14 in. diameter (81.28 x 35.56 cm).
Photograph: Northlight Studio.
In 1990-91, Bebe Pritam Johnson and Warren Eames Johnson interviewed
14 of these artist-craftsmen who were pivotal to the gallery in its first decade.
These conversations have been turned into a book,
Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters,
which has just been published by The Artist Book Foundation. In their words,
James Krenov, Wendell Castle, Judy Kensley McKie, Thomas Hucker,
as well as Jere Osgood, Richard Scott Newman, David Ebner, Hank Gilpin,
Alphonse Mattia, John Dunnigan, Wendy Maruyama, James Schriber,
Timothy Philbrick and Michael Hurwitz
why they do what they do and why
they chose furniture as a vehicle for artistic expression.
"The impassioned voices of 14 makers bring to life
the issues of the studio furniture field,
from isolation to analysis of form to comparison with other arts.
Led by the wise questions of the owners
of the country's major art-furniture gallery,
their stories create a thought-provoking,
portrait of the growth and development
-- and personalities -- of this creative movement.
It's an important history and a great read!"
-- Janet Koplos,
co-author (with Bruce Metcalf),
Makers: A History of American Studio Craft,
University of North Carolina Press, 2010;
former Senior Editor, Art in America and
American Craft magazine.
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