This image of a Trump supporter viewing art has gone viral. In an attempt to put this in context Artnet News comments:
“America is hard to see,” as the poet Robert Frost once put it. Sometimes, though, it hits you right between the eyes. A photograph making the rounds on the Internet right now purports to show a Trump supporter, complete with “Trump for President 2016” t-shirt, trademark red baseball cap, blue backpack emblazoned with red-and-white stripes, and a gratuitous fanny pack strapped to her side, standing in front of Jeff Koons’ sculpture Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988). It’s only missing a bald eagle, mom, and an apple pie—unless, of course, the woman pictured is your mom.
In the same issue Artnet reports that Koons has fired more than a dozen staffers for trying to unionize. It proves my point that emerging artists are Democrats, arrived artists are Republicans. Alas, money always Trumps idealism.
— Garth Clark
Trump “Clobbers” Porcelain
Speaking of the collapse of culture, have you seen this image of Trump “clobbering” a porcelain mug? No, his supporters didn’t sack any museums (not yet); “clobbering” comes from the lexicon of old ceramics jargon. In the 18th century painters and decorators would paint on an existing ceramic object to make it more attractive and to sell it for a higher price. The connotation definitely refers to violence, so keep that in mind.
This mug, brought to our attention courtesy of Robert Hunter British and American Porcelain and Pottery is an example of contemporary clobbering. With its throwback to an idealized colonial past, the Confederate flag (flown from the South all the way to very confused households in the rural North) and that awful picture of Trump’s face that will wear really thin over the next four-to-eight years, the mug tells you everything you need to know about Trump’s campaign. It will be especially useful to archeologists from the future who will find it buried deep within our barren ruin of a country. #hottake
— Bill Rodgers
Audrius Januðonis at Kunstforum Solothurn
The Kunstforum Solothurn in Solothurn, Switzerland recently wrapped up an exhibition by Audrius Januðonis. We wanted to draw your attention to this fantastic work from the exhibition, Evening. Square sun set down (2014, porcelain , 80 x 28 x 25 cm). It was one of the standout sculptures in the exhibition, CosmoCake (Solothurn, June 11 – July 9). We like the way the glazes give the piece some mesmerizing luster.
Audrius Januðonis was born in 1968 in Alytus, Lithuania. He graduated in 1994 from the Vilnius Art Academy’s ceramic department, and he became a lecturer in Alytus Art School that same year. He has been a member of the Artist Union of Lithuania since 1997.
Photograph courtesy of Kunstforum Solothurn.
4 x 4 Vessels by Benwu Studio
Grok this clever and adaptable tableware set, “4 x 4” by Benwu Studio in Beijing, China.
As the name suggests, the set is comprised of four ceramic vessels partnered with four different kinds of silicone lids. This allows the user to mix and match different combinations to get as many as 16 different containers, including a coffeepot with a filter, salt and peppershakers, oil and vinegar containers, vases, teapots and cups.
According to their biography, Benwu was founded in New York City in 2012 by Chinese designer Hongchao Wang (ECAL) and Peng You (RCA). The collaborators mostly focused on material experimentation at the start of their practice. Later, design partners such as interior architect Ge Wei (RCA) and Product Designer Qiyun Deng (ECAL) joined their forces. Benwu Studio become a multi-disciplinary design agency with expertise and experience in product, set and interior design. The Studio is currently based in both Shanghai & Beijing with a series of successful collaboration projects with clients such as Hermes, Vacheron Constantin, Cassina, Isabel Marrant, Mini, Baccarat, Swarovski, Perrier Jouet and Remy Martin.
GE Developing Ceramics for Jet Engines
We don’t have occasion to write about GE often, unless you count their porcelain-inspired animated commercial designed to remind the people of China that GE is a thing that exists.
The American Ceramics Society tells us that GE, ahead of new US EPA guidelines on jet engine efficiency, is designing specialty ceramics that could help the engines become more heat resistant and energy friendly. The tech relies on a material called “ceramic matrix composites” (CMCs), according to GE’s ceramic lab manager Jim Vartuli:
Because CMCs are made of ceramic fibers embedded in a ceramic matrix, which form a ceramic-fiber reinforced material—they’re stronger than conventional technical ceramic materials. “CMCs are materials that have the high-temperature capability of traditional ceramics—but they also have the mechanical properties of metal,” says Vartuli.
“Today we operate the turbine materials near their melt point. What we want to do is put a material that has a higher melt point, higher temperature capability. And that’s what these ceramics can enable.”
GE says that CMCs will replace certain metal components in the hot section of the engine, and, in turn, this will help reduce fuel burn and emissions.
“We’re in a situation where we can have a sizable jump in fuel efficiency, just based upon this technology alone,” says Vartuli.
What do you think of these tidbits from the world of contemporary ceramic art, design and tech? Let us know in the comments.