In an article titled "American Craft Past, Present, and Future," Design Miami/ organizers interview makers from R & Company's Object USA: 2020 exhibition, asking them to reflect on the state of craft in America. Among these is artist Christopher Kurtz, who said, "I am not a scholar or a historian. I am a practitioner in this hybrid area of Art/Craft/Design, so I see things through the lens of a maker." Also interviewed are Michele Oka Doner, Liz Collins, and Adejoke Tugbiyele.
In a review in The Magazine Antiques, the Object USA: 2020 exhibition 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.”
Aylin Bayhan composed a piece for How to Spend It that included 21 items to embrace the art of wabi-sabi. Among these is artist Christopher Kurtz's Skipping Stone console, 2019, from Sarah Myerscough Gallery. The table, which is made of black walnut, ash, cherry, and white oak, was shown alongside Yasuhisa Kohyama Anagama's fired stoneware, an Olivia Walker porcelain and brass vase, a Machine Ogawa earthenware Tea Bowl, a Dior watch, an Alexander McQueen wool jacket, Hermes and Loewe handbags, and Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton shoes.
Covering the Objects: USA 2020 exhibition at R & Company, Adrian Madlener wrote an article for The Design Edit that included the history of the lauded original exhibition staged in 1969 at the National Collection of Fine Art at the Smithsonian Institution. "Lee Nordness, the revered gallerist, organized The show in order to define and draw attention to a movement in which studio-based makers were approaching contemporary art by way of traditional craft techniques," the journalist explained. "The term 'object' dismantled the antiquated distinctions between art and design that could no longer define this collective output." Glenn Adamson, a noted curator and historian, organized the exhibition at R & Company to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original show. Included in the 2020 exhibition is the "Linenfold Armoire" by Christopher Kurtz.
Several limited-edition pieces of furniture by Christopher Kurtz were included in a Manhattan residence designed by Michael K. Chen. In a feature on the apartment published in Elle Decor magazine titled "How One Architect Kept the Cozy in a Sleek Redo on Manhattan's Upper East Side," Alexandra Lange wrote, "In the dining room, especially, the family's needs and the architect's design ambition perfectly meshed. 'We wanted a room we could use every day for dinner,' the homeowner says, 'but one we could also occasionally glam up a little bit.' To that end, Chen worked with Christopher Kurtz to design a table that is both indestructible and very, very glam: an aluminum surface with a rippled edge."
Featuring Christopher Kurtz's solo exhibition at Messums Wiltshire, Charlotte Abrahams wrote an article for The Design Edit in which she describes the venue and Kurtz's sculptures exhibited there. "This summer, the vast, ancient tithe barn of Messums Wiltshire plays host to 12 new works by the artist Christopher Kurtz. The nine suspended constellations, each composed of limbs of linden wood so slim that they challenge the tensile strength of the material, are set against three short benches, each placed to frame the view and provide visitors with a moment of repose. Titled 'The Traveller cannot see North but knows the Needle Can,' the show is 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 about Abrahams' studio visit in the in-depth article.
In Upstate Diary, Tyler Watamanuk opened his article "The Man Who Makes Wood Come to Life" with "There is one particularly mesmerizing sculpture in Christopher Kurtz's studio that stands as high as the ceiling. Upon first glance, the wooden piece looks like the type of biomorphic object that may come to life during a wild fever dream and chase you around the room. The space is full of these idiosyncratic sculptures, each one with more protruding points and slanted lines than the last. The immediate visual effect is magical and commanding, but the longer you stare, the more the details come into focus: the spikes that extend out from all angles like mesmerizing limbs, the contours that come together to form a seamless body, and the basswood grain that peeks through a fine layer of white milk paint." The full article is in pdf form on the journalist's website, linked to in the title.
Writing for Modern Magazine, Anna K. Talley says of Christopher Kurtz's Sculptures of Furniture: A Windsor Alphabet exhibition at Patrick Parrish gallery, "An eighteenth-century chair might seem like an unlikely starting point for an exhibition at the more contemporary Patrick Parrish Gallery, but don't be fooled. In Sculptures of Furniture: A Windsor Alphabet, Hudson Valley-based designer Christopher Kurtz has taken the historic birdcage Windsor chair and stretched it, disassembled it, repeated it, and pushed its form to the limits, resulting in a playful collection of furniture for twenty-first-century eyes."
Introspective, the magazine published by the founders of 1stDibs, featured an article on artist Christopher Kurtz titled "Welcome to the Wonderful, Carved-Wood World of Christopher Kurtz." Tim McKeough, the journalist who wrote the piece notes, "At his workshop in Upstate New York, the artist and designer shows us how he handcrafted the fantastical furniture on display in his latest exhibition." He goes on to say, "Christopher Kurtz's bewitching ways with handcrafted wood borders on the magical."
When Alice Morby covered the Loewe Craft Prize in 2018 for DeZeen, she quotes the founder of the Prize, Jonathan Anderson, as saying, "Craft will become fundamental in design." Morby opens her piece with, "A reaction against the 'non-reality' of digital technologies has led to a heightened interest in design craft, according to Jonathan Anderson, fashion designer and founder of the Loewe Craft Prize." She notes that there were 30 finalists for the 2018 Prize, "including Christopher Kurtz, who creates sculptural woodworks."
Covering the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize for Wallpaper* magazine, Sujata Burman quoted the founder of the Prize, Jonathan Anderson, as saying, "The level is crazy this year." The journalist goes on to say, "He was referring to the outstanding quality in this year's applicants of the second iteration of the Loewe Craft Prize that the British creative director inaugurated last year to 'help modernist craft and make it more accessible.'" The 30 finalists, which included Christopher Kurtz from the United States, were from all points around the globe.
Jill Singer wrote "The Design Trends We're Predicting Will Be Big in 2018" for Sight Unseen . The magazine had identified six trends that would most influence interior design and objects. Among these was scallops. Singer wrote, "The scalloped trend has been percolating for a while, but it's about to blow up in a big way. This week alone, Christopher Kurtz debuted an undulating basswood credenza at San Francisco's Fog Fair, and on Thursday, Ania Jaworska will present a scalloped white oak bookshelf at Friedman Benda."
Titled "6 Artists Who Are Pushing the Limits of Wood," Ariela Gittlen's article for Artsy began, "Wood may be one of the oldest and most commonplace art materials, long used in African, Pre-Columbian, and Oceanic artwork to create groundbreaking forms, but it's full of surprises." She says of Christopher Kurtz's art and limited-edition furniture, "The most innovative artists working with wood today aren't necessarily taking advantage of the newest technology. Some, like Christopher Kurtz, are still honing traditional woodcraft techniques." She goes on to say, "Kurtz's sculptures look impossible, like models of yet unproven astrological theories. They are often confoundingly slender, the wood either ending in tiny points or curling around itself like loose ribbon."
In a Q&A with three artists, Sarah Medford, writing for The Wall Street Journal, wrote, "Booming interest in contemporary, handmade furniture has turned talented artisans into design stars whose work is sought after by a new generation of collectors. Here, three leading craftsmen--Christopher Kurtz, Brian Thoreen and Ian Stell--talk inspiration, music to work by and more." In the opening to her interview with Kurtz, she noted, "Among the creative community of New York's Hudson Valley, where he's based, Christopher Kurtz is considered something of a woodworking shaman." Medford quotes Kurtz as saying, "I do everything at the bench and respond to the forms as they happen."
ARTFORUM reviewed Christopher Kurtz's solo exhibition at Tomlinson Kong Contemporary Gallery titled Longhand. The article begins, "Christopher Kurtz approaches sculpture with the meticulous dexterity of a trained craftsman. To create Litany, 2012, arguably the centerpiece of his first solo exhibition in New York, the artist routinely awoke before daybreak to hand-carve maple, oak, and cedar into strips of wood, then gingerly pieced these together into a continuous beam that curves thirteen feet across the gallery and soars five feet toward the ceiling." The article, written by Allese Thomson, goes on to say that what is significant about this piece is "the way Kurtz emphasizes the human quality of craftsmanship as a genre."
Covering the exhibition Longhand by Christopher Kurtz, Robert C. Morgan, writing for The Brooklyn Rail , said, "His work moves between natural winding branches and pointed stick-like forms. Either way, his approach to sculpture is a classical one. It contains a will to order, one that is less about power than balance. While Nietzsche may linger in the shadows, the articulation of proportions is more given to Chuang-Tzu. The content is only a matter of degree. A subtle tilt or bend in the wood will determine the work's expressive potential. Kurtz's sense of ordering is generally more spatial than formal."
"Christopher Kurtz thinks spontaneously with his body and hands," begins the article about the artist in Cultured Magazine. "There are no heady concepts behind his delicate, rigorous sculptures." There is much more about the artist's work and vision in this piece.
In a New York Times article titled "Dorsky Museum Highlights Works That Elevate the Mundane into Art," Susan Hodara said Christopher Kurtz's three-legged redwood writing desk evokes flowing liquid. She goes on to say, "In organizing the show, Ms. [Jennifer] Scanlan confronted the permeable boundary between functionality and personal expression, between design and art. 'In my opinion when you're talking about one-of-a-kind pieces,' she said. 'A unique object is also an art object. Whether it is a functional piece that you can use, or an artwork that you experience visually, it is part of an artistic continuum.'"
KC Studio, which covers Kansas City's Performing, Cinematic, and Literary Arts, published a piece featuring Christopher Kurtz's exhibition Orchards, at Belger Crane Yard Studios. The article by Elisabeth Kirsch noted, "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. It was a commissioned piece, but in the process of fabricating it, Kurtz discovered that it contained 'an encyclopedia of information.' Making it, he writes in his artist statement, involved 'complex woodworking techniques from carving, to steam bending, lathe turning, to structural building, engineering and ergonomics.'"
In "The Dance of the Sculptor: Christopher Kurtz finds the sweet spot between art and design," Steven Biller, writing for Palm Springs Life magazine, wrote, "Suspended in the atrium of Imago Galleries, The Gloaming--a hand-carved basswood sculpture by Christopher Kurtz--reads like a drawing, with its pointy limbs jutting gracefully into space. Stretching between 6 and 8 feet, the work appears weightless, like a frozen starburst...Imago installed the elegant sculpture at its Palm Desert gallery as Kurtz, who lives and works in Upstate New York, expands his repertoire to include handcrafted furniture and stirs up the age-old debate between fine art and craft." Biller interviews Kurtz about his vision and his practice in this thoughtful article.
Brian K. Mahoney wrote in "Necessary Tension," his review of artist Christopher Kurtz's work published in American Craft Magazine, "The seating seems effortless, a minor bit of whimsy. But that's by design. Kurtz, a woodworker who identifies as a sculptor first and a furniture maker second, is not interested in showy demonstrations of technique. Behind his work's apparent insouciance lies tremendous technical rigor and a fascination with negative space." The journalist goes on to say, "Take Kurtz's recent series of starburst sculptures, constellations of diaphanous staves tapering off in fine points. All are made from blocks of wood carved down to whispers with a spokeshave, a process similar to sharpening a pencil. Kurtz then joins the pieces and covers the seams in layers of graphite or milk paint." There is much more in the piece by Mahoney, who is the editor of Chronogram magazine.
American Craft Magazine published an article titled "Like-Minded" that explored twin forms, or pairs that are defined by what they share and, even more interestingly, how they diverge. "With his (A)Typical Windsor Form, Christopher Kurtz pays homage to the classic spindle-backed chair, transforming the mundane into the memorable. The Kingston, New York, artist, whose work spans sculpture and furniture, built this piece of steam-bent ash, white oak, and pine, finishing it with milk paint." Works by several other artists are also featured in this article.
Jenny Xie wrote "A Northern Californian Renovation Brings Warmth to the Wilderness" for Dwell. In it, she highlights the custom dining table and chairs by Christopher Kurtz, quoting the homeowner as saying, "Working with [Kurtz] was a privilege and beautiful experience. He sent us a video of a stream with eddies in it, and I thought that was so appropriate: you look out at the meadow and the forest, and the lights are kind of like mountains." The journalist goes on to say, "The oval shape encourages everyone sitting around it to engage in one conversation." There are beautiful photos of the entire home in the article.
Featuring 17 on-the-rise designers that Architecture Digest's editors felt everyone should know in advance of the 2017 Architectural Digest Design Show, Hadley Keller wrote of Christopher Kurtz, who was participating in the show's MADE section: "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." Kurtz is in excellent company with the other artisans and artists who are featured in this sneak-peek of the AD show.