Authorship Presents Leo Berk, John Grade & Emmett Smith

Tuesday October 18, 6-7:30pm

The Authorship series presents sculptors Leo Berk and John Grade, and Emmett V Smith, Curator of Watercraft at the Antique Boat Museum on the St. Lawrence River in New York. Berk and Grade will share their collaboration-in-progress as part of the Authorship Experiment, and Smith will host a discussion about the role maritime history plays in contemporary culture.

About the presenters:

Emmett Smith is Curator of Watercraft at the Antique Boat Museum on the St. Lawrence River in New York. ABM holds a collection of over 300 boats that represent American woodcraft, design, and ways of living on the water from the late 19th century to the present. As a boatwright working in restoration and reproduction of vintage boats, Emmett gained an appreciation for craft, history, and the artistry of combining the traditional and the contemporary. As a Curator, he seeks to create exhibitions and experiences that project the viewer into past ways of living and recreating on the water. Most recently, he has been captivated by the potential for contemporary art to construct intimate forums for emotional connections with history, often utilizing historic resources physical or ephemeral. This has led to collaborative projects with designers, artists, and urban planners in Seattle and New York City.

Emmett has recently returned to ABM and to the St. Lawrence after three years in Seattle, where he worked as a Consulting Curator at The Center for Wooden Boats and Northwest Seaport. As a thoughtful lay-Curator working in an esoteric subject matter, Emmett has an expansive view of curation, both in terms of narrative construction and collections management. At ABM, direct experience is a commonly utilized interpretive tool, and visitors are invited to go to work and to go boating. Professionally, Emmett enjoys curating and contextualizing experiences in a wide variety of watercraft while keeping track of artifact care and visitor safety. Looking forward, he is working to create exhibits at ABM and elsewhere that interpret vintage boats as objects of design, and exhibitions of artwork that reference experiences and dreams on the water.

Leo Berk was born in 1973 and received a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1997, and an M.F.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1999.  His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Lawrimore Project, the Lee Center, and Howard House in Seattle, cherrydelosreyes in Los Angeles, and the Bellevue Art Museum. His work has been included in shows at the Henry Art Gallery and Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Galleri Erik Steen in Oslo, Edward Cella in Los Angeles, d.u.m.b.o. Arts Center in Brooklyn, Tacoma Art Museum, Marylhurst University in Portland, and California State University, Long Beach.  Berk has been honored with grants and awards by the Seattle Art Commission, Artist Trust, and 4Culture and was the 2010 Artist Innovator receipient.  His work has been published in Art in AmericaArt Ltd., LA TimesModern PaintersThe Seattle TimesThe Seattle Post IntelligencerThe Stranger, and Seattle Weekly, and has been acquired by such public collections as the Tacoma Art Museum; University of Washington; City of Seattle; King County; Amgen Corporation, Seattle; and the United States Department of Navy. Berk lives and works in Seattle.

John Grade is a Seattle-based artist particularly known for his skill in relating sculpture to the environment; his innovative installations have garnered him an international reputation. Grade is currently working with salvaged timbers from the historic Northwest schooner Wawona to create a monumental sculpture for the new MOHAI museum.

John is the recipient of the 2010 biennial Willard Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. He has also been awarded the 2011 Schnitzer Prize from the Portland Art Museum, an Andy Warhol Foundation Award (NY), two Pollock Krasner Foundation Awards (NY), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (NY). Grade recently exhibited at Galerie Ateliers L’H Du Siege in France, Fabrica in the UK, and Cynthia Reeves Gallery in New York. Grade has been a fellow at the Djerassi Foundation (CA), the MacDowell Colony (NH), and the Ballinglen Foundation in County Mayo, Ireland. His work has been featured and reviewed in Art in AmericaSculpture, Artweek, American Craft, ARTUS, the Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, Conde de Nast Traveller, Italian and RussianDomus and on NPR’s All Things Considered and Studio 360. Two monographs of the artist’s work have been published coinciding with major museum surveys of his work.