I LOVE the New York Ceramics Fair. There’s nothing in the world quite like it. As vibrant and exciting as NCECA and the world of contemporary studio ceramics is, I’m always excited when something comes along to put our world in ceramics. NCECA is part of a 10,000 (plus) year ceramic continuum. The circle of artists, educators and collectors that we deal with is but a small part of the overall ceramic world. The New York Ceramic Fair can be described as “antique-centric”–filled with dealers who specialize in historical ceramics like Wedgwood, Sèvres and British transferware. The Ceramics Fair is a chance to get up close and personal with ceramic work that one would ordinarily encounter only in a museum.
The dealers and attendees are both dyed-in-the-wool ceramic geeks who know their stuff. It was both humbling and inspiring to be surrounded by these people. An afternoon spent at the Ceramics Fair was an incredible education. Another great thing about the Ceramics Fair is that it is increasingly populated by artists and dealers that exist in the realm of contemporary art that is steeped in historical details and inspiration. Michelle Erickson has been setting up her own booth at the Ceramics Fair for a while now. Last year, Leslie Ferrin had a booth that was filled with artists like Léopold L. Foulem, Paul Scott and Mara Superior. Diversity reigned–at least in terms of historical periods and inspiration. There were even a few booths that had midcentury pottery.
Because the Ceramics Fair is geeky in such a good way, it’s natural that it should be filled with artist talks and lectures by scholars, historians and curators. This year, NCECA is partnering with the Ceramics Fair to help emphasize contemporary artists who use history as their muse. To that end, I’m thrilled to be presenting a lecture about a subject that I’m passionate about–young (or youngish) artists whose studio practice revolves around historical references. My lecture, which is entitled “I’m So Fancy: Young Artists Take on Ceramic History” will feature different strategies that artists use–from casually grabbing and remixing elements of historical pots to engaging in deep archival research. I’ll also feature a few artists in other media who take inspiration from ceramics.
From Brendan Tang’s Manga-inspired Chinese vases to Andrew Tanner’s digitally-enhanced animated porcelains and Eduardo Serabia’s sneaky blue-and-white Mexican drug cartel ware, there is power and currency in the collision of history, pop culture and contemporary technologies. Join me on Friday, January 23rd for my lecture. I’ll be in good company with lectures on that day by Leslie Ferrin and Paul Scott. Don’t miss some of the other lectures on Wednesday and Saturday by some of the most incredible scholars in the field.