Welcome to NewsFile, your weekly resource for tidbits and happenings from across the worlds of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. Today, we share with you a revealing study, creative spaces and more. We begin with The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s momentous exhibition exploring Chinese cultural identity.
Terracotta Warriors Travel Stateside
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.-A.D. 220) (New York, April 3 – July 16, 2017) features more than 160 ancient Chinese works of art, including the celebrated terracotta army warriors, the museum writes.
[The exhibition] will explore the unprecedented role of art in creating a new and lasting Chinese cultural identity. The works in the exhibition—extremely rare ceramics, metalwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, and architectural models—are drawn exclusively from 32 museums and archaeological institutions in the People’s Republic of China, and a majority of the works have never before been seen in the West. The exhibition will also examine ancient China’s relationship with the outside world.
Here’s what the New York Times had to say about the remarkable cultural exchange.
Of the museum’s several presentations of Chinese antiquities over the past 20 years, this one is probably the most dramatic visually and the most accessible emotionally. There’s a certain amount of the type of art the Met is too comfortable with: imperial bling. But here even this material feels purposeful, because it dates from a time in China when the idea of empire and corporate branding through art was experimental.
More Exhibitions, a Payoff for Museums
The Art Newspaper published this super interesting read on their research proving what many museums have already been thinking: institutions are presenting more exhibitions than they used to, and that’s paying off in the long run.
In conjunction with Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) in Dallas, the Art’s study indicates museums that offer more shows attract more visitors (and revenue) than their peers.
These institutions also spend less money on marketing and attract more visitors for every dollar they spend to create awareness about exhibitions.
Max Hollein, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco tells the publication museums can longer rely on their collections to drive interest.
“Your collection can be as grand as the Metropolitan Museum’s, but the exhibitions will be more enlightening to a larger and more diverse audience.”
A ‘Clay’date at the European Ceramic Work Center
The European Ceramic Work Center, also known as Sundaymorning@ekwc, is similar to a shared maker space fostering increased innovation, experimentation and collaboration — but for ceramists.
The center, located in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands, welcomes about 60 (as many as 300 apply) artists, designers and architects to experiment with ceramics for a continuous or phased period of three months. In a New York Times interview, Canadian glass artist and program participant Tim Belliveau speaks to the intensity and freedom of the work.
“It’s a crazy crash course in ceramics, plus everyone is working on an insane scale,” said Mr. Belliveau, who also specializes in 3-D printing. “In my first two weeks here, I think I’ve done about a year’s worth of work.”
Like Belliveau, nearly three quarters of artists-in-residence at the center are ceramic neophytes. Even so, the center provides a team of specialists to help guide the novice ceramists, Bellieveau tells the Times.
“The staff seems more excited about surprises than tradition. They say ‘yes’ to pretty much everything, which I love.”
The almost 54,000 square feet of space is divided into working and living areas, including 16 studios of about 430 square feet each, private dormlike rooms with baths, and a homey shared kitchen, dining and lounge area, the Times writes. The largest room houses 10 massive kilns. The center also has a library, 3-D printing area, clay room, molding and glazing areas, a wood shop and informal gallery spaces.
Art Saves the Batcave
A defunct, turn-of-the-century power station along the noxious Gowanus canal in Brooklyn, New York, is the site of an ambitious new arts complex. The Powerhouse Workshop will serve as a haven for artists of all disciplines providing workshop and exhibition space. According to The Art Newspaper, the revamped venue is made possible by the non-profit Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation.
The waterside venue, a former Brooklyn Rapid Transit power station, was built in 1904 and decommissioned in the 1950s. Recently, graffiti artists and squatters have occupied the dilapidated site. During the early 2000s, it came to be known as the Batcave, a destination for youth, explorers and artists, whose work covers its walls.
The foundation purchased the building in 2012, the New York Times writes.
The foundation spent four years studying what to do with the power station after purchasing it in 2012 for $7 million. The initial thought was studio space, but after surveying artists, the Powerhouse team discovered a greater unmet need: fabricating the art.
That need has been growing more acute, as the same real estate pressures pushing out artists are displacing the artisans and manufacturers who helped realize their work. The foundation anticipates that the project will create more than 100 jobs.
The Times writes the high-profile Swiss architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron won the commission to design the new center.
The new six-story structure is essentially a large rectangle imbued with Herzog & de Meuron’s pyrotechnic modesty. Where the original building had a pitched roof and a pair of giant smokestacks, the new structure is flat. The original roofline will be visible, however, a ghost incised in the pattern of the facade. There had been discussions about creating new ventilation systems in the shape of the smokestacks, but that was deemed superfluous.
Ceramics Expo Just Around the Corner
Ceramics Expo provides an unrivaled opportunity to see first-hand and up close the innovations in materials, processes and products that are driving today’s ceramic manufacturing industry, the expo’s website states.
The burgeoning technologies in the ceramics industry are resulting in novel, high-performance, precisely engineered components that are proving invaluable in many other sectors…[including] the automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, telecommunications, alternative energy and smart materials industries.
Check out the 2017 exhibitor list.
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