Welcome to NewsFile, your bi-weekly roundup of newsy tidbits and happenings from the worlds of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. We’ve been hearing a lot of excitement from you around Garth Clark’s final speaking tour WITNESS, which launches July 22, 2017 in Houston. But first, we have some dirt on America’s Christian crafting and supplies store Hobby Lobby.
What do Hobby Lobby and ISIS Have in Common?
America’s evangelical birth-control hating crafting store, Hobby Lobby has been smuggling clay artifacts out of Iraq, The New York Times writes, disguising them as “sample tiles” as they were shipped to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and two corporate affiliates.
Prosecutors said in the complaint that Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical Christian owners have long maintained an interest in the biblical Middle East, began in 2009 to assemble a collection of cultural artifacts from the Fertile Crescent. The company went so far as to send its president and an antiquities consultant to the United Arab Emirates to inspect a large number of rare cuneiform tablets — traditional clay slabs with wedge-shaped writing that originated in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.
An expert on cultural property law who had been hired by Hobby Lobby warned company executives that the artifacts might have been looted from historical sites in Iraq, and that failing to determine their heritage could break the law, the Times writes. Despite the expert’s warning, Hobby Lobby bought more than 5,500 artifacts from an unnamed dealer for $1.6 million in December 2010.
In a settlement agreement with the Justice Department, Hobby Lobby consented to the forfeiture of the artifacts and agreed to pay an additional sum of $3 million to the government, resolving the civil action.
Hobby Lobby further agreed to adopt internal policies and procedures governing its importation and purchase of cultural property, provide appropriate training to its personnel, hire qualified outside customs counsel and customs brokers, and submit quarterly reports to the government on any cultural property acquisitions for the next eighteen months.
Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green said that Hobby Lobby’s collection of historical Bibles and artifacts was “consistent with the company’s mission and passion for the Bible.”
Similarly, also citing religious motivations for their actions, is ISIS, whose militants have targeted and destroyed well-known ancient sites and shrines, citing idol worship to justify their actions, National Geographic writes. The group is also cashing in on its looting efforts, the Times writes. selling off antiquities to collectors to finance its Iraqi insurgency.
Satellite images have documented thousands of illegal excavations in Syria and Iraq, visible as pockmarks among some of the world’s most important ancient ruins, like Mari and Dura-Europos in Syria. Tracking what has been looted from them, though, has proved difficult.
Sustainability + Design, Plant-based Water Filtration System
Royal College of Art graduate Pratik Ghosh‘s work ‘Drop by Drop’ addresses real world problems through innovative design—access to clean water. Ghosh has designed a home filtration system that’s powered by plants and purifies waste water, according to Dezeen.
Drop by Drop houses plants under a glass dome. Pipes allow water to be added in to be purified, and later collected. The system is designed for grey water – which comes from washing machines, sinks and baths.
A light within the dome triggers the plants to photosynthesise and transpire, so water is drawn through the roots and onto the leaves, where it enters the air as vapour.
Ghosh says his design can transform the way society looks at sustainability as something that begins in the home. He says he wanted to create something “beautiful yet provocative.”
It is a new lifestyle where the appliance is a living breathing entity which sits in the living room right next to your favourite couch. I believe that such a product can bring about a mass movement in the way we look at appliances and value systems. Several scales and applications of the idea can be explored and implemented, thereby paving the way for research and design to delve into more sustainable solutions and solve some of the most burning problems of our time
The project draws its name from the Hindi saying: ‘Drop by drop, fills an ocean’.
Turbo Teapot Inspired by Renault Race Car
This turbo teapot was designed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Renault’s high-powered RS01 racing car whose nickname inspired the design, DesignBoom writes.
The formula 1 car, had trouble with its turbocharged engine and on certain occasions, the car showed up to the racing lane with smoke pouring everywhere, so team boss Ken Tyrrell nicknamed it the ‘yellow teapot.’
The expression was adopted by the members of Tyrrell’s team as well as by others, and the RS01 was thereafter nicknamed the yellow teapot. The RSO1 was the first Formula One race car to be powered by a turbocharged engine first appearing at the 1977 British Grand Prix.
The teapot will equip the kitchens of the Atelier Renault restaurant starting in September.
Now if only the turbo teapot gave a vrooooom!
Ceramic Coating May Make Hypersonic Travel a Reality
A team of scientists from the University of Manchester and Central South University in China have developed a new ceramic material that could make hypersonic air travel a reality.
New Atlas writes while the idea of hypersonic travel has been around for a while, scientists have been stuck with solving the issue of heat generated by the impact of air at high speeds at or above Mach 5, that’s roughly 5,400º F.
The ceramic carbide coating can withstand the high temperatures of flying at over five times the speed of sound without the degradation experienced by similar materials.
The ceramic coating is produced by means of Reactive Melt Infiltration (RMI), which involves mixing zirconium, boron and titanium into a composite of different types of carbon.
Normally, high temperature on ceramics drives off protective elements and leaves the remaining ceramic vulnerable to degradation, but RMI makes the ceramic much harder and extremely resistant to surface degradation at hypersonic temperatures.
Mexican Artist’s Wall to be Torn Down
Brooklyn-based Mexican artist Bosco Sodi will build a “Mexican” wall, only to let visitors tear it down. The project called Muro will go up in Washington Square Park September 7. The New York Times writes the wall will be 6 feet high and 26 feet long and constructed of 1,600 clay timbers fired in Oaxaca, Mexico. The wall will also be raised by Mexican artists and friends living in New York.
“I wanted to create a wall made by Mexicans with Mexican earth. Then the disappearance of the wall will be by the community and all kinds of people who visit the park.”
Muro comes at a time when the Trump Administration aims to raise a wall to keep immigrants out, which human rights organizations argue is a signal that administration will seek to enact unlawful, draconian immigration policies.
Cfile’s Global Ceramic Auction Extended
The deadline for bids for Cfile’s Global Ceramic Auction has been extended until July 21. The auction features works from over 60 artists and art from all over the world and all five continents including Barnaby Barford, Tony Marsh, James Marshall, Peter Pincus, Ken Price, Brian Rochefort, Diego Romero, Marit Tingleff, Bouke de Vries, Andy Warhol, Beatrice Wood, Betty Woodman and more.
The CFile Global Auction is especially unique because several of the lots include Passport Items (a gift from the artist) such as a studio visit, tea with the artist, a catalog or a book. A weeks stay in Garth Clark’s cozy casita is also available. Get your bids in!
Launching Garth Clark’s Final Speaking Tour WITNESS
Garth Clark’s final speaking tour WITNESS hits the road this week premiering in Houston at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) on Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 4 -5pm, and is sponsored both by the Museum and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
This special event is presented by celebrated author, editor, collector, gallerist, and lecturer Garth Clark—perhaps the most influential and provocative voice in the field of international ceramics. More a one-person stage show than a conventional lecture, “WITNESS” combines Clark’s wit, erudition, deep scholarship, and entertaining speaking style with a dynamic multimedia presentation encompassing the key revolutionary moments for ceramics since 1970.
The event is free and open to the public. More speaking dates and locations to come.
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