BOCA RATON, Florida—Get fired up! Our beloved Cfile.org founder and renowned ceramics expert Garth Clark is speaking during a day-long ceramics symposium Nov. 11 in conjunction with the crucial exhibition Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Ceramics in the Spirit of the Mad Potter. Guest curated by Clark, the exhibition is on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art from November 7 through April 8, 2018.
Clark has curated a panel discussion with ceramic art collectors who loaned works for the exhibition and leading national and international ceramic artists Anne Marie Laureys, King Houndekpinkou and others. The day concludes with a visit to the FAU Ceramic Studio to meet with the ceramic faculty. Mark del Vecchio is also taking part in the exhibition.
Regarding George Ohr brings together 24 unique, major works by the iconoclastic, Biloxi-born “mad potter” George Ohr (many not exhibited in public before) along with objects by 16 international contemporary artists from five continents working along the same avant-garde vein. These artists similarly exemplify the medium’s cutting edge while providing an illuminating bridge to greater understand of Ohr’s work within a contemporary context. Selected artists include Glenn Barkley, Kathy Butterly, Nicole Cherubini, Balbak Golkar, the Haas Brothers, King Houndekpinkou, Takuro Kuwata, Anne Marie Laureys, Gareth Mason, Ron Nagle, Gustavo Pérez, Ken Price, Brian Rochefort, Sterling Ruby, Arlene Shecht, Peter Voulkos, Jesse Wine, and Betty Woodman.
The exhibition begins with an entry gallery containing a select grouping of major vase forms by Ohr from the famous, definitive collection of Marty and Estelle Shack. Largely disavowed as an uncouth, homespun, outsider to the reining members of the Northeastern American Arts and Crafts Movement, Ohr – an eccentric Southerner, and the “playful mustachioed muse for this exhibition”—had been all but forgotten by 1904 when he ceased making pottery. By his death in 1918, his oeuvre had been entirely disregarded until a miraculous turn of events in 1969 lead to the discovery of approximately 10,000 unique works in an attic. Upon rediscovery, Ohr’s radical experimentations sent shock waves through the art establishment, garnering polarized reactions from fiercely divided camps of fervid admirers (avid collectors grew to include Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns) and equally impassioned detractors.
Clark describes Ohr’s breakthrough treatment of form as possessing a shocking “sensuality” that bordered on the erotic, with “bright palettes setting one’s eyes alight.” Clark goes on to note, “Their forms undulate and shimmy. Handles dance with disturbing reptilian sinuosity, a floor show preceding the raucous contemporary party that beckons ahead.”
On combining Ohr’s work with the seminal roster of contemporary artists included, Clark writes, “Ohr always said he would be best understood by future generations…For this exhibition Ohr is a prism that deflects time and links primal creativity. The premise is not that all these contemporary artists were directly influenced by him (some were, but a few had barely heard of him before they were invited to this exhibition). The purpose was a comparative study about artists, all working with the same tool kit Ohr had pioneered, all decidedly irreverent in their processes, and all highly informal in their use of form…Just like Ohr, many of them were highly controversial and faced scorn from critics for changing rules, rejecting symmetrical elegance, bringing raw, rude emotion to the surface.”
Clark continues, “For me the excitement was looking at the intense variety that grows out of five to six primary elements. They have enough in common for the exhibition experience to equip the viewers with a visual language that gives access to art that has often been described as impenetrable. It expands and enriches a new critical lexicon that certainly did not exist in Ohr’s day and even today perplexes contemporary writers who use impropriate terms like “sloppy” or “inept” when none of the work is either.”
An extensive roster of programming with contemporary master ceramicists, art historians and curators will both accompany and compliment this groundbreaking exhibition.
Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Ceramics in the Spirit of the Mad Potter is made possible by the Museum’s Leadership Fund with major support generously provided by the Estate of Ardele L. Garrod, the Isadore & Kelly Friedman Foundation, Jody H. & Martin Grass, Christine & Peter Raimondi, Dalia & Duane Stiller, Steinberg Global Asset Management, Ltd., and the Museum’s Friends Auxiliary. Additional support is provided in part by the City of Boca Raton; the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Additional support is generously provided by our Members and Donors.
About the Artist: George Edgar Ohr (July 12, 1857 – April 7, 1918) was an American ceramic artist and the self-proclaimed “Mad Potter of Biloxi” in Mississippi. In recognition of his innovative experimentation with modern clay forms from 1880–1910, some consider him a precursor to the American Abstract-Expressionism movement.
Text (edited) from Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Related Events: Details and tickets online at www.bocamuseum.org/madpotter
Friday, Nov. 10 / 11:00 am–12:15 pm Lecture |12:30–1:30 pm Lunch
Friends Auxiliary: Lecture & Lunch Series with Guest Curator Garth Clark
Renowned ceramics expert Garth Clark shares his knowledge and experience in the field of contemporary ceramics in this lecture and lunch, followed by a docent-led tour of the exhibition.
Tickets: $75, RSVP required by November 3 at 561.392.2500, ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, Nov. 11 / 9:00 am–4:00 pm
This day-long symposium begins at the Museum with a reception and fascinating tour of the exhibition Regarding George Ohr: Contemporary Art in the Spirit of the Mad Potter. The program continues at Florida Atlantic University’s University Theater with keynote lecturer Garth Clark, noted ceramic historian and curator. The day includes panel discussions with noted ceramic art collectors who loaned works for the exhibition, and leading national and international ceramic artists Anne Marie Laureys, King Houndekpinkou and others. The day concludes with a visit to the FAU Ceramic studio and meeting with the ceramic faculty.
Members: $25; Non-members: $30; Students with valid ID: Free
Joining Clay from Around the World for Ceramic Lineage Storytelling
Nicole Cherubini Discusses her “Hero” George Ohr
Garth Clark Speaks with Kevin O’Brien: The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum
Ken Price Survey (1959-2006) at Hauser & Wirth, London
Jesse Wine’s “Young Man Red”: Youthful, Puck-like Ceramist Earns Art Critics’ Plaudits at Baltic Plus, London
Love or loathe it? Let us know what you think about this upcoming exhibition in the comments section below.