Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Dirt on Delight

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A lengthy, lively and powerful review by Roberta Smith was published in today’s New York Times. As I read it, I vowed to attend the exhibit, “Dirt on Delight: Impulses That Form Clay.” (Ms. Smith calls it “close to groundbreaking.”)   It’s amazing to read a respected authority’s enthusiastic view of the show, to be sure, and to be dazzled by a veteran wordsmith’s prose.  But what I like about the review is something more: it contains some of the strongest statements on record about the viability of the medium of ceramics. Here are just a couple of choice quotes from the review, titled “Crucible of Creativity, Stoking Earth Into Art.”:

“It reminds us that the art form incorporates quite a bit of painting and sculpture, thank you, and has one of the richest histories of any medium on the planet. Ceramics also plays well with all kinds of artistic ideas and needs no propping up by supposedly serious fine art…


” It can’t be said enough that the art-craft divide is a bogus concept regularly obliterated by the undeniable originality of individuals who may call themselves artists, designers or artisans. But this timely, satisfying show proves it once more. It also suggests that while ceramics is just another art medium, there is no art medium quite like ceramics.”

A strong and positive review in the New York Times is a good time for a gallerist to point to his own artists, or “toot your own horn.”  (Out of 22 artists in the exhibition, we have presented the work of 8: Viola Frey, Ron Nagle, George Ohr, Ken Price, Adrian Saxe, Peter Voulkos, Beatrice Wood, and Betty Woodman).  I can’t resist the opportunity to quote what Ms. Smith wrote about Adrian Saxe:

“Mr. Price’s and Ms. Butterly’s work can have the exquisiteness of fine jewelry, as can Adrian Saxe’s high-style amalgams. His commanding “Sweet Dreams” is a vaguely Chinese-influenced lidded jar with ormolu handles and a rock-crystal finial that, in a kind of scholar’s-rock touch, sits on what appears to be a large, multitiered fungus.”

Written by Frank Lloyd

March 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm

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