Celebrating Craft Visionary Lloyd Herman

The Renwick Gallery

Lloyd Herman, one of the leading authorities on the contemporary craft movement, has won the admiration and respect of art institutions both across the country and internationally.  Herman’s experiences have most recently inspired Northwest Designer Craftsmen to produce an exciting new documentary about his life and his work promoting various crafts.

It’s easy to see why Herman was selected for the next Living Treasures video documentary. He was instrumental in the opening of the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and soon afterwards became the gallery’s first director. The gallery featured unique exhibitions that showcased pieces from a variety of materials and drew in large crowds. Lloyd Herman’s success at the Renwick Galley also brought with it many opportunities for his shows to travel to other countries, making him an instant emissary for American craft to audiences worldwide.

From there, the Renwick Gallery was able to broaden its program into an international venue for craft and design. Lloyd was energized by the challenges that came with establishing a premiere venue for contemporary craft, and from 1972 to 1986 presented over 100 exhibitions to achieve his goal of having contemporary craft join its rightful place among the Smithsonian’s family of museums.

And his career didn’t slow down from there. After his time as director of the Renwick Gallery, he said that he “hit the ground running with about three exhibition proposals that I was unable to do at the Renwick.” Over the next ten years his expertise was in constant demand, from helping the Cartwright Gallery in Vancouver B.C. to become the Canadian Craft Museum in 1988, to becoming the acting senior curator for planning the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA in 1998.

The documentary on his life is scheduled to be released just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, in honor of where this craftsman’s legacy all began! For more information, visit the Northwest Designer Craftsmen website

MARTINA PRESTON