Welcome to Spotted, your weekly roundup of odds n’ ends from the world of contemporary ceramic art and design. We have a few odd one-off items to share with you today, starting with the Watermill Center.
Above image: Nicole Nadeau, Everyone Thought I Was You_01, 2016, ceramic and solid surface corian, 30 x 20 inches. Estimated value: $3,800.
These selections are from the Watermill’s 2016 benefit auction, held July 30 in Water Mill, New York. In addition to the auction, the benefit also included installations and performances made by participants from 27 countries. Funds raised will go to support the Center’s year-round Artist Residency and Education Programs, which focus on young and emerging artists who are exploring and developing new work. Unfortunately, we cannot locate sale value for the pieces, but we’re including the estimated values in the captions.
Ronit Baranga, Embrace #1, 2016
Ronit Baranga, a sculptor from Israel was one of the artists who worked on Banksy’s Dismaland last year. Her own work is surrealist, including such things as anthropomorphic tea sets and fanged infants. Embrace #1 is an interlocking tea set that links a teapot, creamer and a cup. Vice news, when they’re not covering international conflicts while high on LSD, runs a section called “The Creators Project.” They see some hanky panky going on in the set. What do you guys think?
The sculpture’s title, Embrace #1, is an accurate, if understated, description of the rendezvous Baranga has captured. When we ask just what was going on in the new work she’s been showing off on Instagram, she responds, “I leave this to the interpretation of the viewers.” It seems unlikely that the three fleshy reservoirs rubbing up against one another is a platonic encounter, especially considering the winky faces accompanying her Instagram posts of the sculpture. We concede that the scene could simply show the lead up to or come down from the ménage à trois—admittedly, we don’t know enough about teapot’s anatomy to confirm or deny this theory.
Tea for Two (Infinite Love)
Italian designer Marcello Morandini’s “Tea for Two (Infinite Love)” set for Design Memorabilia is almost chaste by comparison. It contains a minimal, very sweet coded message, so only take it out of the cupboard for someone you truly care about. It retails for about $125. From Gessato:
A powerful symbol is placed (literally) at the foundation of the design. The infinite loop, which represents enduring love, is recreated here in porcelain boasting thin black stripes. Two matching cups are situated at opposite ends, each featuring a distinctive detail: one golden arrow and one bright red heart, both piercing the cups and acting as functional handles while also providing the crucial clue to reveal the meaning behind the design.
“Ceramics Now” at Jane Hartsook Gallery
The Jane Hartsook Gallery at Greenwich House Pottery is hosting Ceramics Now (New York, July 14 – August 11). The exhibition presents the work of Giselle Hicks. Margaret Lanzetta, Sheila Pepe and Halsey Rodman, all made during the artists’ residencies at Greenwich House Pottery.
The gallery says a theme throughout the show is an “idiosyncratic approach to the material.” The goal of the exhibition is for each artist to bring out different themes in the other artists’ work, so we have items as diverse as still lives, to crowns to strings of ceramic sausages.
Grayson Perry on Crafts vs. Art
The creative world thrives on backhanded compliments and passive aggressive conversations that leave you wondering whether the person talking to you was being patronizing or merely awkward. Therefore, it’s refreshing when someone like Grayson Perry can come out and make a definitive statement of opinion. His sense of humor goes a long way to taking the sting off of what would otherwise be insulting. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Perry answered questions about his relationship to craft vs. art. The answer surprised us. He prefers anonymous craftsmanship to the “21st century Midas Touch” of low-effort, all-hype art.
A Porcelain Suit of Armor for Richard III
Shakespeare’s hunchbacked “rudely stamp’d, deformed, unfinish’d” antihero Richard III will nevertheless have a grand suit of armor. Actor-Director Jean Lambert Wild, who is staging the play at the National Drama Centre in Limoges, France will dress the character in a porcelain suit of armor. He teamed up with Theatre of the Union costume designers to make the 13-pound suit, an endeavor that took more than seven months. He told Art Daily:
“There’s something very poetic about making armour, which symbolises strength, virility and must protect the body, in a material which in the imagination reflects fragility, delicacy and subtlety.
“For me this piece of clothing is a beautiful interpretation of Richard III — beneath superficial power, fragility, flaws.”
What do you think of these snippets from the world of contemporary ceramic art and design? Let us know in the comments.