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2010 Award of Distinction Recipient

Designer, Furni­ture Maker

Presented by The Furni­ture Society on June 182010.

Born in 1946 in Altadena, CA, and educated at Cali­for­nia State Univer­sity at Long Beach, (B.A. 1969, M.A. 1971), Cederquist is currently on the faculty of Saddle­back College in Mission Viejo, CA. He is widely recog­nized for witty and master­ful plays on dimen­sional illu­sion in his sculp­ture and furni­ture pieces, which have been exhib­ited in such major exhi­bi­tions as Cali­for­nia Design at the Pasadena Art Museum, CRAFT TODAY: Poetry of the Phys­i­cal at the Amer­i­can Craft Museum, The Eloquent Object at the Philbrook Museum of Art, New Amer­i­can Furni­ture: The Second Gener­a­tion of Studio Furni­ture­mak­ers and The Maker’s Hand: Amer­i­can Studio Furni­ture, 1940 – 1990, both at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

A retro­spec­tive, John Cederquist: Reality of Illu­sion, was presented at the Oakland Museum of Cali­for­nia and the Renwick Gallery, National Museum of Amer­i­can Art, Smith­son­ian Insti­tu­tion 1997 – 2000 and accom­pa­nied by a catalog with essays by the critics Arthur C. Danto and Nancy Prin­cen­thal. Succes­sive solo exhi­bi­tions of his work have been shown at the Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, since 1991.

John has a voice like no other furni­ture maker today,” said Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez, chair of the 2010 Award of Distinc­tion Commit­tee, in announc­ing the award. His furni­ture includes refer­ences to contem­po­rary culture, to comic strips and tradi­tional Japan­ese block prints. As a measure of his talent, he has inspired a gener­a­tion of furni­ture makers to think of their art in new ways without spawn­ing a group of imitators.”

In a 2006 review in The New York Times of his show Kosode Built as in a Dream, the writer Grace Glueck described these kimonos, in the shape of garments on display, as inge­niously wrought of various kinds of wood, put together and painted so as to simu­late the folds and draperies of actual garments. Their surfaces are then adorned with extrav­a­gant motifs that some­times refer to master­pieces of an earlier age…these robes actu­ally open to reveal inte­rior systems of shelves and drawers.”

Cederquist has received two National Endow­ment for the Arts Fellow­ships, in 1975 and 1986. In 2002 he was elected to the Amer­i­can Craft Council College of Fellows. Leading museums hold his work in their collec­tions, among them the Philadel­phia Museum of Art, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, the Museum of the Art Insti­tute of Chicago, Yale Univer­sity Art Gallery, and the M.H. de Young Memo­r­ial Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.