Messums Wiltshire, “The Traveler cannot see North but knows the Needle can,” Wiltshire, United Kingdom (2019).
Christopher Kurtz first exhibited at Messums Wiltshire during “Material: Wood” in the summer of 2018. “His participation—alongside his stellar talk on his work and evolution into one of the most exciting makers working in wood—resulted in an invitation to create a solo response to our thirteenth century barn,” noted the exhibition catalogue. “The exhibition consisted of a series of fine wooden constellations suspended just above the floor. Christopher’s new sculptures explored the push and pull between craftsmanship, sculpture, design, and fine art as a single installation that celebrates his chosen material.” The medieval monastic tithe barn about 16 miles from Stonehenge is in Tisbury; it is reputed to be the largest barn of its type in England.
Christopher chose white chalk paint for the sculptures because the barn is not far from the chalk trails the pilgrims followed in Dover, and the title of the exhibition is a line by Emily Dickinson that references the voyage of those pilgrims who were known as travelers. The Design Edit published a Q&A with Christopher about the exhibition, which was conducted by Charlotte Abrahams during a studio visit: “Titled ‘The Traveller cannot see North but knows the Needle Can,’ the show was both a direct response to the history and specific location of the barn and a celebration of the poetry to be found when craftsmanship and artistry collide.” There is much more of the interview in The Design Edit piece. The exhibition catalogue is available through the Messums website.
E.R. Butler & Co., “Meridian,” New York, NY (2019).
The first metal Meridian sculptures were exhibited at E.R. Butler on Prince Street in Manhattan in early 2019. The forged-brass sculptures were the result of a ten-year collaboration between Christopher Kurtz and Rhett Butler. Butler was inspired to work with Christopher when he saw a mobile made of wood that piqued his interest in an exhibition in New York City. He asked Christopher if he would be interested in making the attenuated spikes in metal, which launched Butler into a lengthy process of digitizing and finding the equipment that could produce them. There are only a handful of machines in the world that can achieve the delicacy and precision these metal sculptures would demand, and Butler located one in the U.S. that was originally designed to make needles for endoscopic surgeons. This project remains one of the most satisfying collaborations Christopher has undertaken to date.
Patrick Parrish Gallery, “Sculptures of Furniture: A Windsor Alphabet,” New York, NY, (2018).
When Introspective Magazine covered this solo exhibition, Tim McKeough wrote, “At first glance, these new pieces appear to be inspired by nature. The yellow Duck Bill Miter bench swells from the ground like a beanstalk, and the rosy-hued Saddle table has a top that ripples like a flower petal. But spend a little time studying them and you might come to a different realization: Their forms were actually born from the components of the birdcage Windsor chair, originally made in Boston in the early 1800s. The Duck Bill Miter, for instance, recalls the crest rail on the Windsor’s backrest; the Saddle grows out of its wavy carved seat.” Christopher was inspired to explore the Birdcage Windsor form because the chair, which on the surface seems like such an approachable, folksy piece of country furniture, is seriously sophisticated. About the pieces exhibited in his gallery, Patrick Parrish said, “Even after talking to him and handling the pieces, I still don’t entirely get how they’re made. Even in the most polished, beautiful cabinet, you still see his hand.” There is more about this exhibition on the 1stDibs website .
Belger Arts Center, “Orchards,” Kansas City, Mo, (2015).
Orchards was an exhibition of abstract sculptures and contemporary furniture at the Belger Crane Yard Studios. Covering the exhibition for the publication KC Studio , which highlights Kansas City’s Performing, Visual, Cinematic, and Literary arts, Elisabeth Kirsch wrote, “The art world has seldom been comfortable acknowledging makers who function both as designers and as artists. As Andy Warhol discovered, no matter how successful he was as a New York illustrator, he was snubbed by other artists until he focused exclusively on ‘fine art.’ Leonardo da Vinci famously turned his nose up at Michelangelo because the latter sculpted and designed architecture as well as painted, and in the process got his hands dirty. A young generation of artists is now seriously upending the old design versus art prejudices, and this group is quite comfortable working with all kinds of materials and making objects both utilitarian and non-utilitarian. Christopher Kurtz is one of those artists…Ten years in the making at his studio in New York’s Hudson Valley, Kurtz’s exhibit at Belger Crane Yard consists of almost 20 hand-carved wooden chairs and sculptures. The earliest piece, which is the touchstone for the entire exhibit, is a reproduction of a 19th-century Birdcage Windsor chair that Kurtz made in 2003.” You can see more of Kirsch’s review on the KC Studio website.
Hedge Gallery, “Singularity,” San Francisco, CA, (2013).
When Christopher Kurtz’s exhibition “Singularity” debuted at Hedge Gallery, Modern Magazine called the pieces in it a “stunning body of work made up of constructed and carved pieces of wood that appear to elongate and stretch out into dynamic compositions, possibly suggesting a collapse and explosion of stars or light traveling infinitely through space.” The editors go on to say, “Free standing, suspended from the ceiling, perched on top of a pedestal or mounted on the wall, all of the sculptures consider balance and gesture that is familiar to us all. Kurtz sees dance, particularly ballet, as one of his sources of inspiration: ‘To leap and to land on point, to stretch and elongate an arm or leg, to hold the position, and yield to gravity with grace, is the essence of my interest in sculpture. The act of making sculpture is a protest against gravity. To erect something and make it stand up is an act of hubris, but it is essential to humans affirming their existence.’” You can see more of the review on the Modern Magazine website. And you can view the exhibition catalog on Issuu.
Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, “Longhand,” New York, NY, (2009).
Writing for ArtCritical , an online magazine of art and ideas, Karen Gover said of Christopher Kurtz’s exhibition “Longhand” at Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, “‘Longhand’ proves an apt title for Christopher Kurtz’s four-piece show at Tomlinson Kong Contemporary. On a formal level, Kurtz’s sculptures suggest the lines and shapes of handwriting. Two of the pieces, Litany and Act Together , resemble the baroque swirls of cursive script made three-dimensional. The slender quills of the other two pieces, Palace and The Gloaming , suggest a different graphic sensibility: neat and formal, yet still bearing the trace of the hand, these forms etch soft black lines in space to create volume and void.” Gover ends her review with: “In today’s artistic climate, virtuosic displays of technical skill can sometimes be viewed with suspicion if not derision. Hence it is a great pleasure to encounter the work of a sculptor like Kurtz, who refuses to pander to the artificial distinction between the ideas for his art and their material embodiment. Viewed in this light, his hand-made wooden sculptures seem almost edgy, daring. Thank goodness he took the time and the risk.” The full article is published on the ArtCritical website.
The editors at Artforum wrote, “ Litany is so delicate and so immaculate that it seems unbelievable the work was carved by hand. Kurtz has painted the sides of the beam a stark white and the top and bottom a coal black, which obscures the medium somewhat, causing the work to oscillate between what it is (wood, handcrafted) and what it seems (metal, machine-made). This dualism accentuates the capacity of wood to do things it often doesn’t do—twirl and spiral, pirouette and twist. It also highlights Kurtz’s process, notably the stunning levels of patience and attention required to make wood appear weightless.” The full review is published on the ArtForum website.
Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM, Catalogue (2005).
Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, “Foldings,” New York, NY (2004).
Alfred University, “An Ellipsis Within a Parenthesis,” Alfred, NY, (1998).
R & Company, “Objects: USA 2020” (2021).
R & Company bills its “Objects: USA 2020” as a landmark exhibition and major publication that surveys American art through a curated selection of 50 important historical works and 50 works by some of the most impactful contemporary artists working today. Organizers of the show explained its genesis: “In the 1960s, the visionary gallerist Lee Nordness came up with the idea of mounting a survey focused on American craft designers. Titled ‘ Objects: USA ,’ the resulting exhibition opened to crowds in 1969 at the National Collection of Fine Art at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., before traveling to 33 venues across the country and abroad.” Fast forward five decades and R & Company reimagined the event: “Today, the worlds of art and design are increasingly intermingled; the global pandemic especially has sharpened our perception of design as the gateway to our lived aesthetic and domestic experiences. It’s against this backdrop—not dissimilar to the social and cultural upheavals of the late ‘60s—that R & Company presents ‘Objects: USA 2020.’” The exhibition is featured on the gallery’s website.
Christopher’s Linenfold Armoire (Perpendicular Style) 2020 is included in this exhibition. In a review in The Magazine Antiques , the exhibition’s curator Glenn Adamson wrote: “Kurtz was interested to learn, while developing the idea for his armoire, that linenfold, and the Gothic, or ‘perpendicular’ style more generally, reached their height in the wake of the Black Death of the fourteenth century. The relative austerity of the style reflected a shortage of available labor—so many craftspeople had died—but also, as Kurtz puts it, expressed a need for ‘pure expression of form, confronting the gravity of mortality and loss.’ Seen from this perspective, the insistent verticality of linenfold is a diagram of apotheosis: a sheaf of vectors, all pointing up to heaven.”
Christie’s Auction, “Creating Space: Design Online” (2020).
Christopher’s Pearl Cabinet was included in this auction that Christie’s curators described in this overview: “ Creating Space: Design Online explores how we use our homes as a place of shelter, rest, contemplation and beauty. We create spaces as a reflection of ourselves and as an expression of our experience. The spaces we occupy can be an intellectual puzzle, with design used to separate and connect elements in rooms and in our lives. As we contemplate the spaces we occupy in unprecedented ways, we create new connections and consider new functions of the spaces we make as a backdrop to our lives.”
“Essential Goods Show,” Fisher Parrish Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2020).
The Essential Goods Show featured 80 artists who, at the start of the 2020 lockdown as a result of the global pandemic, were invited to make an object they deemed to be essential—a word that had suddenly become so common. For this exhibition, Christopher created “Mask, 2020,” about which he wrote, “The United States is in a culture war over the essential act of wearing a protective face covering: to wear one or not to wear one has come to signal either virtue or defiance, deepening the political divide we face as a country. ‘Mask’ is a full-scale wood carving of a bandanna, or scarf, folded into a makeshift face covering. Carving this image from wood, frozen and in repose, is a haunting metaphor for empathy and survival.”
“Masterpiece London” exhibiting with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London, UK (2020).
In its design magazine, Art de Vivre Studio said of Christopher’s Ascender sculpture, 2019, displayed in the Masterpiece London exhibition: “Choosing with great care his palette of tools he uses during the creative process, American designer-artist Christopher Kurtz revolves around engaging with each piece on an intuitive and conceptual level. The artist has gained international recognition with his sculptures and studio furniture which received prestigious awards and belong nowadays to noteworthy private collections.” There is more published on the Art de Vivre Studio website .
“Objects to Mark Time,” Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London, UK (2020).
Sarah Myerscough says of this exhibition, “We've invited our artists to create an object dedicated to the moment, which memorializes a personal response to the current crisis and which, in turn, invites further reflections from you, our friends across the world. As we navigate through this challenging and crucial moment in human history, we're recording our experiences through many different material and immaterial channels. Despite our current state of societal separateness, we're finding ways to share these experiences and communicate them with one another; be it through written meditations and observations, fortifying scenes of collective human kindness or private conversations among friends.” Christopher’s Headrest was exhibited and offered for sale, the funds benefitting the staff at the ITU/critical care unit at the Whittington Hospital.
“Scorched,” Barnes Gallery Opening, Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London, UK (2019).
“Scorched by Sarah Myerscough at Fitzrovia Chapel,” London Craft Week, London, UK (2019).
About the exhibition “Scorched,” Sarah Myerscough said, “My ambition is to create a densely forested installation through a collection of hand-crafted scorched objects and unique furniture pieces using traditional woodworking processes. The objective is to highlight the materiality of the work, celebrate wood and its significance in the world of craft, art and design, and demonstrate the creative depth and infinite possibilities of working with this incredible material from traditional carving, turning and scorching to technological advancement.” The gallerist noted about the second “Scorched” exhibition she staged in conjunction with London Craft Week, which was held in Fitzrovia Chapel: “The intrinsic and modest beauty of wood will shine when juxtaposed with this decadent chapel interior; the organic and imperfect against the refined and geometric, the prosaic as opposed to the rarified and the matt black against the gold... one absorbing light and the other reflecting it.” Christopher Kurtz’s Smoked Vessel 1 and Smoked Vessel 2 were included in both exhibitions.
Exhibition celebrating the “Loewe Craft Prize,” The Design Museum, London, UK (2018).
Covering the exhibition celebrating the Loewe Craft Prize, Wallpaper* Magazine quoted the founder of the effort, Jonathan Anderson, as saying, “The level is crazy this year”—he was referring to the outstanding quality in the applicants of the second iteration of the Prize. Reporter Sujata Burman wrote, “This year, 30 finalists have been chosen from across the globe who show innovative expertise in working with materials from textile and paper to ceramics and metal.” About the materials chosen by the finalists, such as Christopher Kurtz’s sculpture Singularity , Anderson highlighted the wealth of wood among those candidates, calling the pieces, “very interesting and organic.” To see the works of a number of finalists, click through to the Wallpaper* article .
“Material: Wood – Art & Design,” Messums Wiltshire, UK (2018).
“Material: Wood – Art & Design” was a threefold program comprised of an exhibition, a festival, and hands-on making experiences. Set in a thirteenth-century barn—the largest thatched building in England—artists and makers, including Thomas Heatherwick, Gareth Neal, Chris Eckersley, Richard Woods, Rob and Nick Carter, Russell Pinch, Christopher Kurtz, and Alastair Mackie, led a survey of contemporary making practices in wood with a focus on chair design. According to Messums Wiltshire’s curators, it was Christopher’s participation in this event “alongside his stellar talk on his work and his evolution into one of the most exciting makers working in wood” that resulted in an invitation to create a solo response to the medieval barn, which debuted in 2019.
“The Ashtray Show,” Fisher Parrish Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2018).
Fisher Parrish Gallery presented “The Ashtray Show,” an exhibition of original small works by over 80 contemporary artists and designers, to commemorate the gallery’s one-year anniversary. One of Christopher Kurt’s Smoked Vessel sculptures was exhibited in this show. Architectural Digest magazine said of the exhibition: “Many things, you soon learn, can serve as a tray for ash—a tiny clay tower (Matt Borgia), charred wood (Cody Hoyt, Nick Fusaro, Christopher Kurtz), a pile of rocks (Chen Chen and Kai Williams), a bronze orange peel (Eric Timothy Carlson), a painting (Angela Heisch) resin-encased cigarette butts (Emmett Moore), even a bowl of ash itself (Werner Haker, Shawn Kuruneru).”
“The Glorious Object,” Patrick Parrish Gallery, New York, NY (2017).
This show curated by Rodger Stevens, a New York artist and curator, featured 42 artists who contributed “42 Cubic Feet of Fantastic,” according to the gallery’s owners. Wall Street International Magazine reviewed the exhibition displayed in a 6-by-7 upright wall unit at Patrick Parrish's TriBeCa gallery. For this group show, Christopher exhibited Broken Ovals .
“Allonge:Beyond Physical Limits” Satellite Gallery, Aichi University of the Arts, Nagoya City, Japan (2017).
This exhibition was held as a part of the International Exchange Program at Aichi University of the Arts in Aichi, Japan. Christopher was invited for a one-month residency to create new works and show pieces in the University Gallery. These included Untitled ( Nagakute Allongé ), 2017; Untitled ( suspended sculpture ), 2016; Untitled ( Wall Braid ), 2017; Gingko Console , 2017; and Broken Ovals , 2011. Untitled ( Wall Braid ), which was created using the steam-bending technique, and Untitled ( Nagakute Allongé ) were created in the University’s studio. His works were exhibited alongside pieces by Rina Murao and Kensuke Karasawa. Summing up the exhibition in the catalogue, organizers wrote, “What leaves an impression is how three artists, working in Japan and in the United States, maintain an unexaggerated and quiet challenge of creative tasks within their own realms. Just as with the arabesque allongé from the ‘Kingdom of Shadows’ in La Bayadère , each of their works possesses an orderly and beautiful strength within abstract shapes. It is as if they are extending their arms, each standing independently without shutting themselves off, in pursuit of something that they can resonate with between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Perhaps that was the Allongé .”
“The Paperweight Show,” Fisher Parrish Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2017).
Christopher’s piece for “The Paperweight Show,” an inaugural exhibition at Fisher Parris Gallery, was Fluted Wedge , which was made from cast iron. The show was an exhibition of original small works by over 100 contemporary artists and designers.
“Wood, Revisited,” The Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, PA (2016).
This exhibition examined the role technology has played in the work of wood artists over the past two decades. It highlighted the nature of wood as a medium by investigating the boundaries of technique such as new technologies, augmented tool(s), and creating work that has a digital or technological look (“tech aesthetic”), as well as the dialogue between designer, engineer, and artist. Wood, Revisited was curated by Anne Carlisle, with advisor Glenn Adamson. Christopher Kurtz exhibited Singularity in this group show.
“Progressland,” Chamber Gallery, New York, NY (2016).
Highlighting the Progressland exhibition at Chamber Gallery, Dezeen magazine noted, “Prehistoric tools, sci-fi memorabilia and a chandelier designed to look like the International Space Station feature in a New York exhibition that explores man's progress through designed objects. Chamber gallery in Chelsea is hosting the second major part of its Collection #2 series, curated by filmmaker and photographer Andrew Zuckerman.” The Progressland exhibition took its name from the 1964 World's Fair General Electric pavilion and exhibited a scale model of the design. Christopher Kurtz’s Allongé(bronze) was included in this show.
“Made for You: New Directions in Contemporary Design,” Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY (2016).
Covering this exhibition for The New York Times , Susan Hodara deemed it “an exhibition of one-of-a-kind creations that highlights the growing appeal of handcrafted, customized goods in an era of mass production.” Curated by Jennifer Scanlan, a director at the Oklahoma Contemporary museum in Oklahoma City, museumgoers wandered from furnishings to housewares to fashion. Hodara wrote, “There is the white ash bench handmade by Jessica Wickham, its contours shaped by the log it was built from, and Christopher Kurtz’s three-legged redwood writing desk that evokes flowing liquid.” Hodara’s article continues with other points of insight about this show that included Christopher Kurtz’s A writing desk (2015).
“Christopher Kurtz, Martin Puryear and Jeff Shapiro,” PS 209 Gallery, Stone Ridge, NY (2014).
In an article titled “The Artist as Maker” in Roll Magazine , Donna Calcavecchio said of this exhibition, “The Hudson Valley attracts a great many people, many of them are artists, many are talented and some are internationally-renown. This weekend at Stone Ridge’s relatively new and very upscale gallery PS209, opening attendees are in for a rare and what promises to be an inspiring exhibition. Three contemporary artists who live in the Hudson Valley and who work in traditional mediums using traditional tools and techniques will be showcased.” Calcavecchio ended her article: “There is an authenticity here—a clarity of purpose, or rather non-purpose —that is remarkably beautiful. This is elegantly stunning work made by artists/makers who are deeply concerned with the process of the making, perhaps even more so than the result.” There is more about the exhibition on the magazine’s website.
“Against the Grain; Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design,” Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2013).
In 2013, Christopher Kurtz’s (A)typical Windsor Form (2004) was included in a traveling exhibition entitled “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design,” which originated at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC; then traveled to the Museum of Art and Design. HighLike reviewed Christopher’s piece in the show: “(A)typical Windsor Form is a tour de force showing two Windsor-style chairs arcing back to meet one another. This work is at once a comment about the historical precedent in furniture-making that limited furniture makers to make objects out of the tools of the trade which were used primarily for domestic, utilitarian objects (like drying racks), as it is about the unlimited possibilities once the machine is replaced by a skilled hand.” To see the full review , visit the HighLike site.
“FOG Design+Art” exhibiting with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2020).
“Design Miami/Basel” exhibiting with Patrick Parrish Gallery, Basel, Switzerland (2019).
“The Salon Art + Design” exhibiting with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, New York, NY (2019).
“PAD London” exhibiting with Sarah Myerscough, London, UK (2019).
“Masterpiece London” exhibiting with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London, UK (2019).
“COLLECT” exhibiting with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2019).
“FOG Design+Art” exhibiting with Patrick Parrish Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2019).
“The Salon Art + Design” exhibiting with Patrick Parrish Gallery, New York, NY (2018).
“FOG Design+Art” exhibiting with Patrick Parrish Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2018).
“Design Miami/” exhibiting with Patrick Parrish Gallery, Miami, FL (2017).
“FOG Design+Art” exhibiting with Chamber Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2017).
“MADE Architectural Digest Show,” New York, NY (2017).
Covering this show for Architectural Digest magazine, Hadley Keller tapped Christopher as one of 17 on-the-rise designers everyone should know. “If there's one constant takeaway each year from Architectural Digest's highly anticipated Design Show, it's that there's no shortage of great design,” she wrote. About Christopher’s showing, she said, “Kingston, New York–based Christopher Kurtz epitomizes the best of the Hudson Valley design boom: He meticulously handcrafts all of his wood furniture with an aesthetic that takes the principles of Shaker design and updates them in modern and imaginative shapes.” You can click through to the full article on the AD website.
“Collective Design Fair” exhibiting with FAIR Design, New York, NY (2016).
“Field and Supply,” Stone Ridge, NY (2016).
“Pulse Miami” exhibiting with Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, Miami, FL (2013).
“Dallas Art Fair” exhibiting with Hedge Gallery, Dallas, TX (2013).
“Pulse Miami” exhibiting with Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, Miami, FL (2012).
“Pulse New York” exhibiting with Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, New York, NY (2012).
“The Armory Show” exhibiting with Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, New York, NY (2012).
“BOFFO Show House” exhibiting with Hedge Gallery, New York, NY (2012).
“Pulse Miami” exhibiting with Tomlinson Kong Contemporary, Miami, FL (2011).
“SF20/21 Art/Design Fair” exhibiting with Hedge Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2011).
“MatterMade New America, Collection no. 2,” MATTER, New York, NY (2011).
“Artware Editions, Inaugural Show,” Artware Editions, New York, NY (2011).
“Dallas Art Fair” exhibiting with Hedge Gallery, Dallas, TX (2011).
“Pulse New York” exhibiting with Artware Editions, New York, NY (2011).
“MatterMade, Collection no. 1,” MATTER, New York, NY (2010).
“The Armory Show” exhibiting with Artware Editions, New York, NY (2010).
Visiting Artist in Residence, Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts, Nagakute, Japan. (2017)
Lecturer and Panelist, “Chipstone Think Tank” moderated by Glenn Adamson at Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison, NY. (2017)
Lecturer, “Technicalities: Meaning in Methods” moderated by Glenn Adamson at Temple Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. (2016)
Lecturer and Panelist, “Meet the Makers” at Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison, NY. (2016)
Visiting Artist, Guest Critic, and Lecturer at RISD, Industrial Design Department, Providence, RI, (2015 and 2016).
Visiting Faculty, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO. (2014)
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Crafts Advisor (2010 through 2014).
Lecturer at The California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco, CA. (2013)
Visiting Artist and Lecturer, RISD, Providence, RI. (2013)
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Guest Panelist. (2009)
Visiting Artist and Lecturer at Bennington College, Bennington, VT. (2002)
Studio Assistant to artist Martin Puryear, Hudson Valley, NY, (1999 – 2004).