A compendium of craft masquerading as art, art masquerading as craft, and craft extending its middle finger.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thoughts on NGEEKA

I'm still trying to put together some coherent thoughts about my recent trip to the National ceramics conference in Portland last week. I saw some great art (Patti Warashina, John Byrd, The ArtStream Trailer) and some disappointments (Richard Notkin, anyone?)

I have a love/hate relationship with Clay as a medium. I'm personally in love with the things it can do, its history, and association with craft. I'm sick to death, however, of going to clay conferences where ceramists constantly whine about ceramics not getting a "fair shake" compared to other media. I attended one panel where a panel member declared that the art/craft debate was OVER. It IS over, but not for any of the reasons that he thinks. The art/craft debate is over because the lines between the two have become increasingly blurred...what with fine artists using craft media to their own evil means, and "craft" artists making increasingly audacious work, not caring what the art world thinks of them.

One member of the audience at another panel stood up to ask Dr. Judith Schwartz what ceramicists could do to get their work in museums. The subtext of his question was what HE could do to get HIS work in a museum. The answer to his question is that NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS, IS A CURATOR FROM MOMA GOING TO COME INTO THE CRAPPY CRAFT GALLERY YOU'RE SHOWING WITH, TAKE YOU TO HIS BREAST, AND GIVE YOU A SOLO RETROSPECTIVE! If ceramic artists would read a book or curate an interesting show, they might have an easier time (if high-art world validation is what they crave). Sigh. I had a lot of great conversations over the weekend, and big thanks go out to Sister Diane of CraftyPod (and the Church of Craft) Ketin of Citizeen, and Dennis from Redefining Craft. I've got some photos to share from the exhibitions...once I figure out how to retrieve them from my demented phone. Oh--and thanks again to Columbus State University for helping me out with my travel expenses!


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