Patti Warashina’s Kilns series subversively undermined the macho “cult of the kiln”: a phrase used to coin the sexist culture that surrounded kiln-building during the mid-twentieth century. As a ceramics student at the University of Washington, Warashina observed that kiln-building lessons were directed towards men, while surface decoration was the jurisdiction of women.
In response, she created a pointed feminist critique, taking symbolic control over the image. Gold Finger (1973) can be read as a female stereotype imposed on a male one, with its shiny gilt decorative surface and two protruding fingers, their nails painted bright red. Fairy-tale depictions of beanstalks and peas further emphasize the playful yet gendered imagery, exposing problematic conventions.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
Each day in NYC there is something to newly discover, no matter how long it’s been there. I am rarely on the block of East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B, but I had occasion to walk that block during this past Sunday’s lovely snow storm. Because I always have an eye peeled for things that might be fun for the blog, I made the charming discovery that most of the buildings on the north side of the block (because that is the side I was on) have these cute and colorful ceramic tile mosaics on their facades, mostly around the doorways and near the steps.
It’s a G Thing
I’m not positive, but my guess is that these are the work of Jim Powers, aka the Mosaic Man, since he is responsible for most of the ceramic mosaics in the East Village. The mosaics are made from bits of tiles, marbles, broken china, mirror shards, bottles and other assorted found objects. They are beautiful and amazing works of art.
How did an ancient Asian tradition become something quintessentially British? The fashion for Tea drinking in Great Britain started at court in the later seventeenth century and spread among the aristocracy. Tea remained a heavily taxed luxury until a century later, 1n 1784, when tea duties were slashed from 119 to 12.5 percent, making it affordable to the general public.
In the eighteenth century, the rise of the East India Company — founded to trade with India, Southeast Asia, and China — led to a British monopoly on tea distribution. This global grip established the nation’s mercantile empire, critically dependent on colonial occupation and the movement of slaves. In 1771, American colonists famously protested Britain’s commercial control, dumping imported tea into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party.
Ambitious British pottery manufacturers and retailers leveraged tea’s popularity to their advantage, cultivating an enormous national ceramics industry. Vastly expanded production yielded new wares, materials and consumers. Profit margins on ceramics were slim, so quality mattered, as did efficiency. Resources and skills were often shared, as innovative makers sprung up and sometimes quickly failed. These developments signaled a shift — creative and economic — toward mass manufacture in a remarkably nimble market, generating a booming export industry for Britain as a result
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
This fantastic, ceramic mosaic portrait of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, entitled Frida The Fortune Teller, was created by Hastings, UK-based artist Susan Elliott. Intricately composed from found ceramics mounted on board, the work combines still life and classic portraiture with the timeless art of mosaic-making to create a stunning modern sculpture. Elliott’s practice includes other works made from found and recycled ceramic kitchen crockery, tourist mementos, novelty mugs, and badges, which are then are woven into more traditional mosaic tesserae (oneofthesmallpiecesusedinmosaicwork), creating multi faceted, jewel-like and iconic images. Priced at just $3900, Frida The Fortune Teller is one of my favorite pieces seen at this fall’s installment of the Affordable Art Fair NY, where this photo was taken this past weekend.
I even felt a bit nostalgic looking at Frida’s gorgeous flower crown of delicate pink, white and yellow ceramic roses and recognizing them as being quite similar to a small ceramic floral bouquet found in the home where I grew up. If you missed Susan’s beautiful and unique art at the AAFNY, you can see more of her cool mosaic portraits, including those of pop culture icons like David Bowie and Amy Winehouse, and get contact information for galleries in the UK that represent her, at This Link!
If the idea of bearing witness to dozens of tiny, semi-clad porcelain figurines that appear to be on the cusp of indulging in a bacchanalian orgy floats your boat, have I a got an art exhibit for you. Chris Antemann’s Forbidden Fruit — up now at the Museum of Arts and Design — celebrates the collaboration between the Oregon-based artist and Meissen, the renowned manufacturer of fine Porcelain.
Detail from Above Photo
In 2011, Antemann was invited to participate in Meissen’s Art Studio Program, where she worked closely with Meissen’s master artisans to create unique pieces and a series of limited editions that strike a perfect balance between her distinctive style and Meissen’s identity. These pieces are arranged in Forbidden Fruit as a grand installation that reinvents and invigorates the great figurative tradition.
Inspired by eighteenth-century porcelain figurines and decorative art, Antemann’s delicate and intricately detailed sculptures are lavishly presented on a central banquet table alongside a selection of stand alone sculptures and a nine-light porcelain chandelier. Her centerpiece, Love Temple (2013), is inspired by Meissen’s great historical model of Johann Joachim Kändler’s monumental Love Temple (1750). Stripping the original design back to its basic forms, added her own figures, ornamentation, and flowers to her five-foot work, as well as a special finial with three musicians to herald the arrival of guests to the banquet of “forbidden fruit” below.
Using the Garden of Eden as her metaphor, Antemann has created a contemporary interpretation of the eighteenth-century banqueting craze by inserting her scantily clad male and female figures.
Posed in intimate and playful vignettes of seduction, Antemann’s figures convey narratives of domesticity, social etiquette, and taboos while making formal references to classic Baroque Meissen figurines. The ceramist invents a new narrative on contemporary morality in a setting that evokes the decadence of François Boucher and Jean-Antoine Watteau.
Chris Antemann’s Forbidden Fruit will be on Exhibit Through February 5, 2017 at the Museum of Arts and Design, Located at 2 Columbus circle (58th Street) in NYC.
This fun ceramic sugar skull wall trophy was created by the Mexico City-based Ceramica La Mejor; a high-end commercial ceramic production company that makes all kind of cool stuff. We visited their booth at ICFF and took a few photos of one of our favorite pieces for our Pink Thing of the Day!
Here he is again, hanging around with all of his colorful friends! Find out more about Ceramica La Mejor at This Link!
Matthew Marks Gallery is currently hosting a retrospective of thirty-four Drawings from the estate of Ken Price, most on view for the first time. If you are not familiar with the work of the late ceramic artist and printmaker, this exhibit is an excellent introduction.
Untitled (Geometric Cup and Interior)
“I’ve been drawing since I can remember,” Price has said. “I think sculptors learn to draw so that they can see what they’ve been visualizing.” His earliest works on paper explore forms and colors for his abstract sculptures, as seen in the Specimen drawings of the early 1960s. Price also drew impossible objects, like cups with a leaping frog or a cavorting nude for a handle. In his drawings of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the imaginary spaces inhabited by these objects became more fully realized.
Price’s drawings provide a counterpoint to his sculptures while imagining a world they might inhabit. Two Sofas (1991), for example, shows an imaginary domestic interior with a view of anonymous downtown high-rises. A semi-fictional Los Angeles appears in several drawings, complete with clogged freeways and palm-studded skylines.
Nature became the dominant force in the drawings from the early 2000s, which feature erupting volcanoes and turbulent seas inspired by Price’s trips to Hawaii. After his 2002 move to Taos, New Mexico, Price focused more on the high-desert scenery of rocky outcroppings, dramatic sunsets, and isolated trailer homes.
Figurine Cup (Study for Silkscreen)
He also began depicting his sculptural forms in nature, re-imagining them as monumental figures in the primordial landscape. The effect is both comic and mysterious, like his sculptures themselves — embodying, in the words of Lucy Lippard, “a beautiful and rather horrible strangeness that appeals to both the mind and the senses.”
Ken Price passed away in 2012 at the age of 77.
Ken Price, Drawings will be on Exhibit Through June 25th, at Matthew Marks Gallery, Located at 2016 523 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.