People have made surfboards for centuries. Standing alone, these boards are often striking examples of functional design. Together, they tell a compelling story about the evolution of an important American art form. Traditional craft, cutting-edge engineering and minimalist art converge in the Museum’s new exhibition devoted to surfboards built from the late 1940s to the present day. Surf Craft chronicles the evolution of surfboard design featuring American makers and shapers of all kinds of wave-riding boards. It explains how meticulous hand craftsmanship can inform modern high volume commercially made surf craft.
The surfboard, historically a handcrafted object, ultimately gave rise to foam and fiberglass board construction, often produced on a mass scale. However, many contemporary shapers are now recognizing and tapping into the design principles found in the traditional boards. Cutting-edge engineering and minimalist art will converge in this exhibition.
Surf Craft originated at the Mingei Museum in San Diego, CA in 2014, where is was curated by San Diego local, Richard Kenvin. In 2015 the exhibition traveled to the LongHouse Reserve, in East Hampton, NY.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Richard Kenvin grew up in Southern California in the 1960s. He learned to ride a skateboard in 1967 and learned to surf in 1970. In 1979 he won the Stubbies Pro, a professional surfing competition held at Blacks Beach in San Diego. By the age of 19 he had been to Hawaii several times and traveled extensively in Australia. He worked for various independent apparel designers in California in the eighties and nineties. He was curator of the 838 and Cassius King art galleries in San Diego from 2000-2005. Since 2002 he has worked with surfing historian John Elwell and designer Carl Ekstrom on the Hydrodynamica Project. In 2011 he participated in the Getty Research Institute’s Pacific Standard Time initiative as curator of Remember the Future, an exhibition of Bob Simmons’s surfboards shown in the context of mid-century California modern design. His writing has been published in the Surfers Journal and Surfer Magazine. Mr. Kenvin surfs every chance he gets on a variety of craft. He lives in downtown San Diego.
ABOUT MINGEI INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM
Located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, Mingei International Museum collects, preserves and exhibits “art of the world, art of the people,” including folk art, craft and design from all eras and cultures of the world. A non-profit institution funded by admission, individuals, and community support, the Museum offers inspiring exhibitions and diverse educational programs to more than 100,000 visitors a year. Institutional support for Mingei International Museum is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.