Welcome back to NewsFile, our bi-weekly round-up of newsy tidbits and happenings from the world of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics.
Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party on Display at Brooklyn Museum
Judy Chicago’s collection of feminist dinner plates, milestone in twentieth-century art, are a welcome breath of fresh air these days and are currently on display at the museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Comprised of a dramatic, ceremonial banquet arranged in a triangular configuration, each of the 39 place settings represents a most distinguished guest.
Begun in 1974 and finished in 1979, with the help of hundreds of collaborators, The Dinner Party celebrates traditional female accomplishments such as weaving, china painting, embroidery, and sewing, which have historically been framed as craft or domestic art.
The names of the other 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table.
Read more here.
Unusual Wear Found in 3,000-year-old Bones of Ceramist
Smithsonian Magazine reports, citing a Science Magazine article, that the 3,000-year-old bones of a woman found in an ancient city-state located on the Greek island of Crete showed some peculiar sign of wear. The cause: the woman was a master ceramist of large artisan vases and endured repetitive motions over an extended period of time.
As Michael Price writes for Science magazine, in comparison to the other females at the site, the muscles on the right side of her body were notably developed, while the cartilage on her knee and hip joints was worn away, leaving the bones smooth and ivory-like.
Science magazine reports the finding also sheds light on the elevated roles occupied by women in some parts of the classical world.
Read the full article here.
Gender Bias in Art
A recent NPR report states buyers pay less for paintings at auction just because they’re painted by a woman, in fact, as much as 42.1 percent less. Reporter Shankar Vedantam, NPR’s social science correspondent, even pointed to the fact that buyers couldn’t tell the difference between those painted by a man or woman before being informed as much.
“Affluent people who visit art galleries, especially men, rate art as less compelling when it is said to be painted by a woman…Sexism reaches into the grave. If you’re a dead female artist, you’re still playing catch-up with the guys.”
Listen to the full report here.
Glenn Adamson’s New Book
Glenn Adamson, former director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, has launched his new book Fewer, Better Things, The Hidden Wisdom of Objects, a timely and passionate case for the role of the well-designed object in the digital age, Bloomsbury writes.
Fewer, Better Things explores the history of craft in its many forms, explaining how raw materials, tools, design, and technique come together to produce beauty and utility in handmade or manufactured items. Whether describing the implements used in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, the use of woodworking tools, or the use of new fabrication technologies, Adamson writes expertly and lovingly about the aesthetics of objects, and the care and attention that goes into producing them. Reading this wise and elegant book is a truly transformative experience
You can get the book here.
Artist Employs Technology to Create Beautiful Sculptures
Ceramist Sabri Ben-Achour creates unusual ceramic works inspired by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi—finding beauty in imperfection. He developed his own artistic method by mixing powerfully strong magnets into clay to create distinctive stalactite-looking “spindles” or uses electroforming to incorporate copper crystals into some of his works.
Watch his processes in action.
From Art Insider, YouTube.
Jason Busch Named New American Folk Art Museum ED
Folk art, he said, “can help to democratize art and celebrate art from individuals who didn’t have formal training.”
Busch comes from his position as director of the Jason Jacques Gallery in Manhattan. He’s replacing Anne-Imelda Radice, who stepped down in March after nearly six years with the institution.
Read more here.
Small Galleries Struggle in Age of Mega Galleries
Gallery closings are nothing new in the art world, but as the New York Times reports citing an Art Basel and UBS art market annual report, for the first time in 10 years, closings outnumber openings. But what’s causing this phenomenon? The Times points to one explanation being that collectors are time-poor and are opting for aggregate art fairs, which tend to be less intimidating, more social and convenient. And, they allow mega-galleries to take up prime showroom floor real estate outshining smaller galleries.
The Art Basel and UBS report estimated that more than $15 billion of sales were made at art fairs in 2017, representing about 46 percent of total dealer transactions. International collectors flock to destination events such as the three Art Basel fairs and the two (soon to be three) Friezes, where the booths of mega-galleries like Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Pace and David Zwirner occupy the prime positions.
You can read the rest of the New York Times article here.
Artifacts Lost in Brazil Museum Fire
The art world and a nation is mourning a huge loss of collection items destroyed during a fire at Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum earlier this month, The Guardian writes.
As much as 90% of the collection at Brazil’s National Museum was destroyed in a devastating fire on Sunday and––compounding the disaster––the building was not insured.
It’s still unknown how much of the collection escaped the flames, but it’s estimated as much as 20-percent may have survived.
Comparing the devastation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Times reports, many of the items are irreplaceable to science, as well as to the country’s national memory.
You can read more about the fire and collections lost here.
Loewe Craft Prize Winner Announced
Lee is known for utilising traditional techniques, but has developed her own method of colouring by mixing metallic oxides into clay. The hand-coiled vessel that scooped her the prize features planetary bands of these oxidised pigments, some coloured decades before creation – to capture ‘a sense of frozen time’.
The work of the 30 global finalists were displayed in an exhibition at London’s Design Museum as part of London Craft Week. Works on show include a Japanese straw wallhanging, Belgian folded ceramics glazed with red Ferrari paint, a shingled wooden screen from the United Kingdom and intricately engraved Singaporean paper.
Loewe also presented a series of ‘Craft Conversations’ with the museum, in an exploration of how today’s digital-focused world is affecting the concept of craft.
Submissions for the 2019 Loewe Craft Prize are open until October 31.
Read more here.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we continue to update this round-up of news from the world of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. Love or loathe it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.