Oral history interview with William Douglas Carlson

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.carlso09
Creators:
Carlson, William, 1950-
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2009 June 24-25
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7 Items
Sound recording: 7 sound files (4 hr., 6 min.)
digital, wav
89 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of William Douglas Carlson conducted 2009 June 24-25, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Carlson's home, in Miami, Florida.
Scope and Contents
Carlson discusses his move to the University of Miami in 2003 after 27 years at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign; his recent site-specific installation Procellous Wall at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, Florida; the change in his work since his move to Miami, finishing a series of pieces that began in 2000 dealing with language, and his sense of being in a transitional period with his work; growing up in a small town in Ohio, and his early use of adhesives, the field his father worked in, as the spur for his later work in laminating glass; classes at the Art Students League in New York City and Woodstock, New York; attending the Cleveland Institute of Art; spending the summer of 1971 in Stanwood, Washington, helping set up the Pilchuck Glass School, then returning to set up a glass program at the Cleveland Institute of Art with Christine Federighi; the lure of glass, and the danger that its beauty can overshadow artistic substance, which led in part to his decision to mix it with other materials; the influence of minimalism and of Russian constructivism, architecture and modern design; graduate studies at Alfred University, Alfred, New York; accepting a teaching job at the University of Illinois in 1976; work with lamination and expanding scale in his work; use of Vitrolite; large-scale installation work, beginning in the early 1980s, including Optional Refractions and Allele; reflection on the deliberate, design-focused nature of his work; his language series beginning in 2000; the series Pragnanz; philosophy of teaching; the value of intensive learning environments such as craft schools compared with the cross pollination of ideas available at a larger university; the imperative for craft to integrate new materials, technology, and ideas while retaining the importance of the hand; the role of galleries and collectors, and involvement in larger art and craft venues, including the May Show and SOFA; his stint as a judge in a barbecued rib cook-off; the effect of seminal exhibitions such as like "Objects: USA," [1969] and "Poetry of the Physical" (1986) in setting a standard of professionalism for and providing visibility to makers; impact of his international travel; a turn away from pure design and towards a more poetic ambiance in the language series; the use of projected light and his use of cast prismatic shadows in his installation The Nature of Things in Jacksonville, Florida; the issue of scale in his work; artists whose work he admires, including Frank Stella, Richard Serra, Michael Heizer, Tony Smith, Gordon Matta-Clark, William Daley; studio glass as an international movement; involvement with various craft organizations, and wrestling with the definition of a craft artist; preparations to move to Massachusetts and spend some contemplative time thinking about and working on new directions. He recalls Brent Young, Dale Chihuly, Jamie Carpenter, Christine Federighi, Richard Marquis, Eric Hilton, Andre Billeci, Dan Dailey, Doug Heller and Bonnie Marx.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
William Douglas Carlson (1950- ) is a glass artist and educator in Miami, Florida. Carlson was educated at Alfred University.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript available online.
Author
Sponsor
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

General
General
Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 6 min.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Constructivism (Art) -- Russia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glass art -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glass art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glass artists -- Florida -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minimal art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Billeci, Andre Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carpenter, James, 1949- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chihuly, Dale, 1941- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dailey, Dan, 1947- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Daley, William, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fereighi, Christine Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heizer, Michael, 1944- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heller, Doug, 1946- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hilton, Eric Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marquis, Richard, 1945- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marx, Bonnie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matta-Clark, Gordon, 1943-1978 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Serra, Richard, 1939- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Terry, 1960 June 15- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stella, Frank Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Young, Brent Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alfred University -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.) -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cleveland Institute of Art -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lowe Art Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pilchuck Glass Center (Stanwood, Wash.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Miami -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/