Cabinets of Wonder
If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that we learn about art through our friends. Collectors and exhibitions inspire us; they give us a worldview based on exploration. Scholars tell us that the origins of museums came from the cabinets of curiosities in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Europe. The obsessions and discoveries of collectors are expanded versions of that, usually displayed in a domestic setting, as something to be shown and discussed with friends.
In my last post, I mentioned an organization called the Friends of Contemporary Ceramics. It’s a non-profit support group for the ceramic arts, and has helped tremendously with exhibition funding, publications and educational symposia during the FCC’s fourteen year history. As with many art support groups, there are also trips to attend important exhibits, and seek out fascinating collections.
Great shows have been supported by the FCC, which was founded by Linda Leonard Schlenger in 1995 (that’s Linda on the right in the photo, along with Peter and Ann Voulkos in the center, and me). The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1999 show Clay into Art was just one of the highlights. The FCC gives an annual award to a contributor to the field, and helps to sponsor exhibitions in the field of ceramics.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll let you know that I am on the board of directors of the FCC. I organized two trips to Los Angeles, and helped the group to become better acquainted with artist’s studios, museums and private collections. We gathered many of the most important artists for a lunch at the gallery. This photo shows, from left to right, the late Ralph Bacerra, Harrison McIntosh, Toshiko Takaezu, John Mason, Ruth Duckworth, and the late Roseline Delisle.