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A Show Of Craft

August 02, 1987|ZAN DUBIN | Zan Dubin is a Los Angeles writer.

Craft artists no longer make a distinction between themselves and other fine artists. "American Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical," at the Laguna Art Museum (Aug. 7 to Oct. 4), exemplifies this contemporary phenomenon, as well as the diversity of crafts media.

"The fact is, no single style characterizes American crafts," says Paul J. Smith, director of the American Craft Museum in New York City, which organized the exhibit. "Because we as a people aren't burdened with years of tradition, the work is very fresh."

More than 300 objects produced since 1980 by 286 American artists make up the exhibit. There are functional objects and others that serve no function at all, but both types borrow from various artistic styles and stand on their own as artwork, even if they double as teapots or rocking chairs.

Exhibit displays include free-standing sculptures by Peter Voulkos, Robert Arneson and Viola Frey, California artists working in clay who are well-known for having blurred the distinction between fine arts and crafts.

The Laguna Art Museum's main building, at 307 Cliff Drive, and its annex, at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, will house the exhibit, which is sponsored by the Philip Morris Companies Inc., and the Mission Viejo Realty Group.

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