- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (March 27, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300169973
- ISBN-13: 978-0300169973
- Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 2 x 12 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Ceramics: The Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio Collection
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About the Author
Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio are collectors, scholars, authors, and gallerists. Cindi Strauss is curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and design, and assistant director of programming, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
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Ceramics have traditionally been the "humble art"... and generally throughout the text Clark and DelVecchio follow suit in their approach. They don't call themselves "collectors", preferring "custodians" instead. And Clark has been an art historian and author for decades, previously compiling the seminal 1981 book "American Potters". Clark's personal mantra for art books is that they should "be accessible without being dumbed down." To that I say, "amen." The writing in this book stays within those guidelines very admirably. Clark begins with a witty history of his involvement with ceramics, including his memories of a few eccentric potters and patrons. Clark and DelVecchio started collecting and dealing ceramic art when they met the legendary Beatrice Wood, who complained to them about how poorly her pots were selling. Beginning by selling pots out of their home, Clark and DelVecchio went on to establish landmark ceramic galleries in Los Angeles and New York. They were also involved in a ceramic retrospective in the late 70's which was championed by the notorious critic Clement Greenberg.
Greenberg figures in the book because he was such a divisive figure in regard to modern (abstract expressionist) art, and what came after (postmodernism). Ceramic art was as much transformed by post-modernism as was painting or sculpture, but because of its well-established traditions it in effect defuses some of the divide in art about whether craft is important. In ceramics, craft is inescapable. Apparently, the clay medium had enough charms to assuage Clement Greenberg's dogmatic views about "high and low art."
There is a lot of such food for thought in "Shifting Paradigms". The guest essays by Glenn Adamson and Ezra Shales are excellent, too.... Shales is particularly insightful and fun to read (which is something rare in art books).
This book is organized in four sections celebrating traditional, modern, postmodern and figurative ceramics, with individual essays and large plate reproductions for all the most significant ceramic artists in Clark and DelVecchio's collection. They are careful to note that some major figures are left out because of the limitations of basing a book upon one collection ---a collection that has been constantly changing over the years. But it would be difficult to find a book that is truly as inclusive of different philosophies of art as this one is---which is why it stands as a useful reference for any student of art who has had some trouble reconciling the various "camps" of the art world.
Here, those roiling waters are temporarily calmed.