Welcome to NewsFile, your weekly resource for major events, newsy tidbits and happenings from the worlds of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. We have a new exhibition from Grayson Perry and some exciting news for the Victoria and Albert Museum, but let’s dive in with a farewell to a beloved artist.
Dancer turned Ceramist Paulus Berensohn Dies
A beloved artist, who not only shared a passion for dance, but also for teaching and ceramics has died. The New York Times reports Paulus Berenson died June 15 in Asheville, N.C. He was 84.
Mr. Berensohn was perhaps best known for the book “Finding One’s Way With Clay” (1972), a guide to making pinch pots that blended instructions for making these simple clay bowls with reflections on art, the environment and spirituality, and that advanced the idea that creativity was universal.
A charismatic and striking figure, his lean dancer’s body topped by a snow-white ponytail, Mr. Berensohn was also a magnetic speaker who, with a resonant voice, often recited poetry on the fly and spoke passionately to students about art and environmental issues.
Berensohn turned to ceramics after visiting an artist community along the Hudson River. The kinesthetic experience in shaping and creating clearly resonated with the Cunningham- and Graham-trained Berensohn.
“I thought, that’s a dance to learn,” Mr. Berenson told the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in an oral history interview in 2009, the Times writes.
He spent nearly 40 years affiliated with the Penland School of Crafts in Bakersville, N.C., about an hour northeast of Asheville, holding pottery and journal-making workshops.
Celebrating 100 years of Ettore Sottsass’ Life and Work
In a move to honor the late Italian architect and designer, Friedman Benda gallery showcased an entire stand surveying the life and work of Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) at Design Miami/Basel making the 100 anniversary of his birth, The Art Newspaper writes.
“Many are familiar with his name, but the breadth of his work remains largely unexplored, especially by the art world. He was a creator in the true sense, bringing new ideas and sensibility to life; it’s rare to do that over so many decades. His legacy is still undigested because he kept reinventing himself. He responded to what he saw around him and worked with the new materials and technologies introduced during his lifetime. With some historical references only now starting to emerge, this is a seminal moment for a re-evaluation.” —Marc Benda
On display included examples of Sottsass’ cabinets, lighting, glass, and ceramic objects.
Grayson Perry’s New Exhibition Explores Popularity, Identity
In a way that only Grayson Perry can, he has wittingly created The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! (June 8 – September 10, 2017) at Serpentine Galleries. Perry insightfully pokes at normative societal conventions touching on themes such as popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.
The new works I am making all have ideas about popularity hovering around them. What kind of art do people like? What subjects? Why do people like going to art galleries these days? What is the relationship of traditional art to social media?”
At the heart of the exhibition are Perry’s Brexit vases Leave Pot and Remain Pot, which were the stars of Channel 4 documentary, in which Perry crowdsourced people on social media, on both sides of the argument, to contribute images and phrases for each vase.
The exhibition’s curator Rebecca Lewin offers insight to The Art Newspaper. Two works in the first room take differing perspectives on how the success of an exhibition is measured. The first is Puff Piece (2016), where several prominent art critics have given the artist (fictional) rave reviews. The second piece, Visitor Figures (2016), was “inspired by The Art Newspaper’s visitor figures report,” which comments on institutions needing to prove they are successful by quantitative measures.
The Art Newspaper was also able to attend a VIP (June 8) preview of the exhibition with Perry’s alter ego Claire!
Resplendent in a diaphanous blue frock, gold peep-toe platforms and clutching a canary yellow handbag donated by the show sponsors Mulberry—which he said made him feel “like a gnarled 57-year-old Alexa Chung”—the world’s most famous transvestite potter whipped the well-heeled crowd of Serp patrons on a whirlwind personal tour of the galleries.
Images courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London. Photography: Angus Mill
V&A Museum Expansion Features Gorgeous Tiles
The Victoria and Albert Museum will unveil its new courtyard entrance, foyer and purpose-built gallery for temporary exhibitions June 30. The Exhibition Road Quarter will feature a stunning arrangement of porcelain tile – the first porcelain-tiled public courtyard in the UK. The expansion, by British architect Amanda Levete, is intended to make it easier for the public to gain access, The New York Times writes.
The courtyard has been raised and paved with 10,100 porcelain tiles bearing geometric patterns designed by Ms. Levete. On the left side of the courtyard is a modern, glass-fronted cafe with a sharply slanting roof, and across from the courtyard is the foyer, through which visitors can enter the new exhibition galleries (as well as the museum itself).
The museum writes the Exhibition Road Quarter will provide a grand new entrance to the Museum, a beautiful courtyard and a stunning purpose-built gallery for the Museum’s world-class temporary exhibitions.
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