Changing Hand

Venerable Scottsdale gallery gets a new owner and a new look

Rapp says that void defined the H&S's mission. She and Sacks were convinced that America's finer craftspeople deserved to have their works seen on more than burlap-covered booths at outdoor craft fairs.

The gallery opened in a room of the old adobe that housed the Riva Yares Gallery on Bishop Lane. Within the first year, Rapp and Sacks moved it to larger quarters and better crowds on Marshall Way.

Their early shows ranged broadly from quilts, glass and basketry to pottery, textiles, folk art and furniture. Their roster evolved into a Who's Who of artists who have become acknowledged leaders of their fields. Rapp says that not all of them were young. Some were well into middle age. They simply hadn't had an opportunity to show in a gallery setting. Among the artists were potters Karen Karnes, David Shaner, Edwin Scheier and Ed Eberle, glassblower Dale Chihuly, woodturners Ed and Phil Moulthrop, jewelers Clare Yares and Linda Threadgill, and textile artists Kay Sekimachi and Carol Shinn.

Turk says the gallery brought the craft world within easy reach of the Valley and the ASU Museum, which didn't have much of a travel budget. "The other advantage was that I could see all of those artists and their works in quantity."

The gallery also became a prime source of works for the museum's collection. The most notable example is probably the group of more than 90 turned wooden bowls that Phoenix attorney Edward Jacobson assembled in the 1970s and 1980s and subsequently gave to the museum.

Jacobson credits Rapp with having sold him his first bowl--by Ed Moulthrop--and introduced him to other master turners.

Rapp's strength as a dealer was that she didn't try to exhibit everything. After Sacks left the partnership, Rapp did fewer shows of folk art and basketry. She generally concentrated on contemporary artists whose works revived and reinterpreted the shibui values of refined Japanese simplicity that caught her eye in the 1960s and never let go. Aside from the new wall and floor colors, the departure of that particular vision of craft is likely to be the most significant change at the gallery.

But it will probably occur gradually. Rapp says she's agreed to serve as a curatorial consultant to the new H&S, assisting with exhibitions and art fairs, and traveling. In the coming weeks, she'll be working Japan for the gallery. When she returns, the Hand and the Spirit isn't likely to look like anything she ever owned.

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