With thousands of ceramic works that draw on fine art and contemporary craft, the Centre of Ceramic Art opened this summer at the York Art Gallery in the UK. The new center opened after an £8m renovation by architects Ushida Findlay and Simpson & Brown.
Above image: The mezzanine at York Art Gallery showing Helen Walsh, curator of Ceramics. Photograph by Kippa Matthews.
CoCA, as it has been tagged, houses 2,000 ceramic pieces, including works by Grayson Perry, Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie. Changing displays and exhibitions will showcase the gallery’s serious ceramics haul, including highlights of its 5,000-strong collection of British Studio Ceramics, the largest anywhere. It also houses a 17-metre long shelf, the ‘wall of pots’, and a domestic set for the Anthony Shaw Collection, perhaps the most significant private collection of 20th century British ceramics.
The collection draws on everything from neolithic relics to titans in the contemporary ceramic art field such as Grayson Perry and Lucie Rie. According to the New York Times, the collection is presided over by a ceramic figure of William Ismay, created by ceramist Peter Meanley. Ismay collected thousands of works by British potters throughout his life and donated his collection to the York Museums Trust. Eight hundred of these works are displayed in the Centre.
The Centre opened with an enormous installation, Manifest: 10,000 Hours by Clare Twomey. The Centre states that the installation is a reference to the adage that one must practice a craft for 10,000 hours before mastering it. The work was designed to create an impactful transformation within the Centre and to reference the legions of ceramic works within its collection. Each of the bowls takes one hour to make. Twomey had help in the effort by volunteers from York.
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