Published: November 14, 2023
By Laura Beach
WILMINGTON, DEL. — Thanking the institution for its contributions to our knowledge and appreciation of American material culture, the Antiques Dealers Association of America (ADA) honored the Chipstone Foundation at a November 11 dinner, staged in conjunction with the Delaware Antiques Show at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.
“The Chipstone Foundation is among an elite group of awardees who have been honored in the ADA’s 39-year history. By recognizing the foundation as a whole, the ADA acknowledges the work of the many, many hands who helped bring the vision of the organization to fruition,” said ADA executive director and master of ceremonies Judith Livingston Loto, welcoming guests.
“We dealers dig the stuff out of attics and basements, spending endless hours trying to find the jewel. But as past ADA Award of Merit winner Phil Zea said, ‘it’s when dealers, collectors and researchers work together that the field benefits most.’ May we always work together,” Arthur Liverant, an ADA director, told the audience.
“In the 20 years that I’ve been on Chipstone’s board of directors, my eyes have been continually opened and my brain has been completely rewarded,” began furniture scholar Peter Kenny, who delivered the evening’s keynote address. “Chipstone is an object study in the value of continuity as a benchmark for measuring change. When there is a sudden and clear change at a particular point in history, usually the result of a single catastrophic event, that event is referred to as a turning point. Our field has had its turning point recently and we all pretty much know it. Chipstone has been brilliant in anticipating this. Years ago, it focused on diverse audiences and the voices of people who have not been heard clearly.”
Accepting the award on Chipstone’s behalf, executive director and chief curator Jonathan Prown urged colleagues to look to the future, saying, “We’re at a moment where the field can feel and look overly traditional, especially to outsiders, in terms of what we say and show, and in who does the talking. Being traditional has its merits but progress of all sorts is essential. We need to think about ways to make ourselves more attentive to what’s going on around us. Chipstone is motivated to keep up with our peers in other disciplines within the humanities and is fortunate to have a board that supports the idea of striving to be innovative and relevant.”
Prown concluded his remarks by inviting Robert Hunter to take the stage. After observing that clay is fundamental to our lives — indeed “many of the world’s holy books speak to the creation of the human race as being shaped and molded from clay” — the founding editor of the Chipstone Journal Ceramics in America saluted antiques dealers, saying, “You make every day a treasure hunt. The trade is the heart and soul of all material culture studies.”
Activated in 1987 following the deaths of Polly and Stanley Stone and based in Wisconsin, the Chipstone Foundation is the 22nd recipient of the ADA Award of Merit, first presented in 2002. For more on the association and its programs, visit www.adadealers.com.
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