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garth, national ceramic competition

updated wed 23 apr 08


Dale Neese on mon 21 apr 08

Back at home from San Angelo and in the groove firing a load of pots to
bisque. A wonderful time in San Angelo at the Chicken Farm Art Center, the
Museum of Fine Arts and the Ceramic Competition. I do enjoying attending
Ceramic Weekend every April. The weather was perfect.
At the symposium at Angelo State University on Friday last, there was an
informal discussion, questions and answer session with the juror of the
competition, Anna Harris, curator for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in
Biloxi Mississippi, Jack Earl, invited artist, and Garth Clark with Mark Del
Vecchio partners in the New York gallery.
First let me say that I am in no position not having read much of the
comments on ClayArt to discuss, criticize or offer my opinion to what was
past threads on this list pertaining to the discussion about Garth Clark or
his gallery. If Garth Clark chooses to comment or reply to this list he may
do so but I have the feeling that he will not although he is aware of the
offer and certainly aware of the comments directed at him and his writings.
Briefly and not quoting Garth Clark, said that he, his opinions about
ceramics is only a very thin sliver of what is the entire ceramic spectrum
and defended his written opinions as to the current status of functional
ceramics in the United States. He did say many of the same things that were
mentioned in the ClayArt list as to why functional ceramics have been cursed
by earlier traditions of providing pottery at a very "cheap" price. Most
people who purchase functional ceramics expect to pay less because of those
traditions of production and design. I think that most of you that are
interested in Garth Clark's writings are aware of exactly what he said. Not
much time was spent at the symposium with talk that concerned ClayArt
members allegations.
Yes, Garth Clark has made "pots". At an earlier time he thought he would
like to pursue pottery and tried to get into a school or class by attempting
to throw perfect cylinders at the instructor's request to be allowed enroll.
His interests then quickly faded and he and Mark Del Vecchio, who never made
clay, both decide to do what they do best, "sell pots". They both were
totally committed to selling "the vessel". Thus the gallery was
established. I believe Garth said for 28 years in New York. Many months
struggling to sell to pay rent and expenses. You can imagine the costs
involved in the monthly operation of a gallery in New York. Now they are
closing the gallery. That is why the website mentions "by appointment only".
Plans for the continuation of an "online gallery" are not firmly nailed
down. They did mention for the first time about leaving New York all
together because the cost of living is so astronomical.
I know Garth and Mark stayed around for most all the activities, workshops,
openings, they purchased work from the Exhibition and it was a piece of
pottery that they both were really excited about. The wall platter was not
mine but I know who made it but won't say for now. My piece, a large jar, on
the other hand was purchased by the "Collector's Society" and given to the
San Angelo Museum of Art for the Museum's huge permanent ceramic collection.
That in itself made my trip so memorable!

Dale Tex
"across the alley from the Alamo"
San Antonio, Texas USA

Lee on tue 22 apr 08


It would be great if Clark could come to Minneapolis. I
wish Philp Rawson were still alive, I would have liked to hear a
discussion between the two. Clark praised Koons. Rawson said he was
a prime example of "a craftless artist."

I was looking at some slides of the discussion between
MacKenzie, Shimaoka and Sori Yanagi at the Mingeikan. Warren argued
in defense of "art", saying his best students considered themselves
artists rather than potters. Shimaoka and Yanagi disagreed. Warren
waved an arm and asked them to look at the scrolls and screens on the
walls, all paintings. He said there was art on the walls.

I also was searching for the work of the woodblock printer
Munakata, a friend of Hamada's. It is obviously "art." He was in
the group's inner circle. Somehow, Yanagi made arbitrary decisions on
what was art and what was craft. I think the operative factor was
if the artist differed to him.

Lee, a Mashiko potter in Minneapolis

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that
can be counted counts." --(Sign hanging in Einstein's office at