SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Matt Kahn: Artist and Educator showcases the distinct and historically significant designs of Matthew Matt Kahn. Curated by Hal Nelson, the exhibit seeks to present the viewer with an insightful walk through Kahns work within the context of Bay Area art and design of the 1950s and 1960s. Kahn has continuously upheld an influential presence as an innovative artist and compelling designer throughout the past sixty years. Kahn has earned national respect for his exploration of all art formsfrom painting and sculpture to textiles, metalwork, furniture design, and interiors. His appreciation for the key role of design in every aspect of daily life has inspired generations of students at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At Stanford since 1949, Kahn has actively mentored aspiring designers and led talented students such as Mark Fuller (Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of WET Design); David Kelley (founder and CEO of IDEO, a design firm in Palo Alto); and the preeminent fiber artist Jean Ray Laury.
Matt Kahn started his ground-breaking career at Cranbrook, arguably one of the most distinguished design schools in the country. From there he went on to teach at Stanford University, where he has held a position for over 50 years. While at Stanford, Kahn also worked for Eichler Homes, the premier developer of modernist homes in California in the 1950s and 1960s. (The Eichler showcase includes weavings by Kahns highly accomplished wife Lyda Kahn and ceramics by Ernie Kim.) In 1957 and 1958, Kahn was asked to serve as Director of the U.S. State Departments Craft and Development Program in Cambodia. Kahns works have been revered for their ability to bring innovative design concepts to every aspect of daily life and present new ways of looking at ordinary objects. Through his art and his teaching, he turns mundane items into stunning art forms, always changing perspectives.
The exhibit Matt Kahn: Artist and Educator highlights Kahns years at Stanford and the historical backdrop against which contemporary American art and design rose to international prominence.
The exhibit shows the richly dynamic era when American art emerged and made in California became the hallmark for excellence in contemporary design. Kahns work has been shown at institutions across the country from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, but his work has never been showcased here before. The San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design will present the first San Francisco showing of approximately sixty of his most accomplished works. The exhibition reveals Kahns fascination with color, abstraction, and light, as well as his lifelong passion for inventive formal structure.