Objects and Meaning expands upon a national conversation questioning how various academic disciplines and cultural institutions approach and assign meaning to artist-made objects in postmodern North America. Although most of the discourse since the mid 20th century revolved around the split between art and craft, the contributors to this collection of essays take a broader view, examining the historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives that defined the parameters of that conversation. Their focus is on issues concerning works that appeared to 'cross over' from mainstream art to an amorphous and pluralistic aesthetic milieu that has yet to be defined.
M. Anna Fariello is an independent curator with Curatorial InSight and on the faculty of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech. She is a former Renwick Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art; a Fulbright scholar to Latin America, and material culture co-chair for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2003. Paula Owen has been the Director of the Southwest School of Art & Craft in San Antonio, Texas, since 1996 and is former Director of the Hand Workshop Art Center in Richmond, Virginia. She has served on several national and regional boards and panels, including visual arts panels for the National Endowment for the Arts.