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.
Kandler’s brilliantly composed figural group, The Judgement of Paris (1762) was intended as a table centerpiece that would appear with dessert. It depicts the story of the shepherd Paris awarding the golden apple to Venus, whose charms he preferred to those of Minerva and Juno. The splashes of color add a frivolous note, in tune with the frothy rococo spirit of the sculpture. Moreover, hints of naturalistic coloring deny these goddesses the timelessness of idealizing sculpture, making them instead into modern beauties who perform a titillating after-dinner entertainment.
Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.
In imagining Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) as a contemporary god of pop culture, Jeff Koons draws on long histories of representing mythic figures in sculpture. In Michael Jackson and and Bubbles (1988), the singer cradles his pet chimpanzee, mimicking a Pieta as perhaps a poignant evolutionary take on the composition of a mother and her child. Koons uses the techniques and conventions of traditional Meissen porcelain — a medium often associated with kitsch — on a grand scale, to underscore the mass appeal of his subject. Similarly, the pronounced use of gold signals excess to the point of banality, even as it reflects the brilliance of the megastar in the manner of an Egyptian pharaoh.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body, at The Met Breuer, NYC.
Oh, how I love a modern product whose design riffs on a retro look! I spotted this adorable (and practical!) Melitta Heritage Series Pour-Over Coffeemaker at the recent IHA Show, and was instantly smitten: not only with its millennial Pink color, but also by the vintage glazed porcelain design! Wow!
It makes perfect sense that this design is from the brand’s new Heritage Collection. While Melitta is a well-known brand that many of us have grown up with, I didn’t know anything about the company’s engaging backstory! In 1908, German housewife Melitta Bentz invented the world’s first pour-over coffeemaker when she poked holes in the bottom of a brass cup and lined it with a sheet of her son’s blotting paper (the first coffee filter)! The pour-over method that we take for granted, which results in rich, flavorful handcrafted coffee, came to be because a smart lady came up with an on-the-fly solution to effortlessly make coffee more delicious!
Melitta’s Heritage Series Pour-Over Coffeemaker Set includes a porcelain Pour-Over cone and matching 20 once carafe. The design debuted at IHA2018 and is available in stores now.
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.
The Porca Miseria! Chandelier is a revolt against the “slickness” of contemporary design and designer Ingo Maurer’s celebration of slow–motion cinematic explosions. Only 10 of these lamps are produced annually, as four builders and must work on each one for almost 5 days, carefully breaking plates with a hammer or dropping them on the floor to determine the arrangement of the final design. The title, a common Italian interjection similar to “damn,” expressing irritation, surprise, annoyance, or incredulity, evokes both the frustration of breaking a dish and the release that comes from breaking many of them.
Porca Miseria! was Photographed while on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, in the Design Gallery.
Korean artist Kim Joon has shifted his artistic direction dramatically since last year’s exhibit at Sundaram Tagore, Blue Jean Blues, in which he explored Pop Culture themes of Iconic Films and Classic Rock Bands in sculptures executed on fine porcelain, and pristine photographic renderings of those sculptures.
Island Aligator Detail
In his latest series, Island, Joon uses the computer software 3D Studio Max to create gorgeous digital prints that explore the volatile relationship between humanity and nature. This dramatic shift in focus of subject matter was spurred by two recent events in Joon’s life: witnessing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which happened close to his home, and a visit to the volcanic island of Jeju, considered one of the most beautiful and mystical islands in Korea.
Island Snake Detail
For this artist, the juxtaposition of these two experiences provoked an examination of the relationship between nature and humanity and the paradox of the fragility and strength of life. Joon’s stunningly rendered images depict a series of islands seemingly created from fragmented human bodies mapped by exotic animal skins, poised to unfurl as they rise from the ocean. According to Joon, the bodies raise the question of whether damaged lives can be repaired if humanity tries to create harmony with nature.
Island Shell Detail
Natural Selection is an exhibition that brings together the work of four radically different artists who share a deep-rooted connection to the natural world. Other artists whose work is represented in this exhibit include Tom Doyle,Hiroshi Senju and Ricardo Mazal.
Natural Selection Featuring New Works By Kim Joon will be on Exhibit Through December 21st, 2013, at Sundaram Tagore Gallery,Located at 547 West 27th Street (street level) in the Chelsea Gallery District, NY.