Karen Sullivan on tue 6 mar 01
I have been thinking about both of the responses that have appeared
on clayart about the show assembled by Judith Schwartz...
I need to support the response to the work stated by Harvey,
and unlike the comment below that the reaction is an "Impoverished
understanding..." I think rather Harvey's comment reflects an aesthetic
point of view and should not be diminished because he does not experience
joy or pleasure with the IN YOUR FACE CONFRONTATIONAL content of the
work you promote....
I think that there is room for a variety of points of view, that work
functions on many different levels, intellectual, emotional, visual,
conceptual, and that one path does not appeal to all.
Judith, I need to say that I have experienced your lecture and slide
presentation and that while intellectually interesting, the work
made me feel ill/upset/sick...and upon reflection is somehow perhaps
a more accurate take on the current mindset/emotional content of a
majority of young people in our culture...I would hope that there is
a segment of society that still aspires to exploring more formal imagery and
not the angry, violent, somewhat
juvenile work of the confrontational clay world.
It all has a place. And I am pleased that you have found a way
to promote your agenda.
And although I do not have a Ph.D., I do have an MFA from one of the
leading universities in the country, and think I have
the aesthetic training to not be considered aesthetically impoverished.
I don't think that one can promote work or diminish the stature of
work into the category of an "art status" on the basis of content.
I do think that one can make statements of beauty, grace or
value judgements about how the work functions...
Generally the confrontational clay work functions on a didactic,
content driven, narrative, angry, violent level which has it's place
in the world. I don't want to live with it, thanks.
on 3/5/01 7:14 AM, Judith S. Schwartz at jss1@ACF5.NYU.EDU wrote:
> This was a newspaper story for the general public, not a critical
> review in a professional journal - where a certain depth of knowledge
> is assumed by an informed reader or subscriber. The writer of the
> story as well as my comment was made to help the average person
> understand that clay could be used as a material for social and/or
> political commentary. As the show tours, I am continuously surprised
> by the public's reaction to its content. It further reinforces my
> perception of a public's impoverished understanding of the variety of
> expression available in ceramics. The comment made was not meant to
> say that pots do not have content or to pit one against the other. It
> was merely a hook - so typical of short newspaper accounts. You are
> reading much too much into it.
> It was not the writer's job to do what you suggest "show how the
> works fit into the history (big picture, not just clay) of
> confrontational art" If you want that much historical reference and
> depth,, come to one of my lectures about the show (the next on April
> 5th at the Flint Institute of Art in Flint, Michigan) or get a copy
> of the catalog which accompanies the show.
> Having worked as an educational consultant for the Lenox China
> Corporation, I have become convinced of the public's impoverished
> understanding of the material. Unfortunately, the average person is
> not aware of the political messages in Greek vases nor even who the
> "femme fatale," in the Venus of Willendorf was - much less that they
> have clay in common,
> Perhaps we would all be better off talking to the public than among ourselves.
> Finally, while I appreciate your comment about wanting "grace" and
> "beauty" in life and Art, I am a bit astonished that as a
> professional artist you are implying that if it ain't beautiful it
> ain't Art!
> * Professor Judith S. Schwartz *
> * Director of Ceramics, Glass, Jewelry *
> * New York Univeristy *
> * Dept. of Art & Art Professions *
> * 34 Stuyvesant St. *
> * New York, NY 10003 *
> * Phone: (212) 998-5733 *
> * Fax: (212) 995-4320 *
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Gayla Lemke on wed 7 mar 01
First of all, I did not interpret Judith's reference to an "impoverished
understanding of the variety of expression available in ceramics" as an
insult to Harvey. She was making a statement about the GENERAL PUBLIC's
understanding of clay...and quite frankly, I agree with her. Many people,
who are not artists and are not educated in the arts, think of ceramics or
clay work (whatEVER the correct terminology may be) as purely functional,
wheel thrown objects or small nik naks. Furthermore, the inclusion in the
review of the show, of a comparison of the sculptural work with flower vases,
pretty tableware and dainty Hummel figures, was to me, a point of reference
for the general population.
I have seen some of the pieces that are in this exhibition. Yes, some are
disturbing. Yes, they do evoke a response. However, I believe that an
exhibition which is captioned "confrontational" would be expected to be this
and to do this.
As an artist who uses clay as my primary medium for making narrative,
figurative sculpture, I think it is great that Judith put this exhibition
together. Art is not just about beauty and feeling good. Art is an
expression from the soul of the artist and that includes things that may not
be pleasant or pretty to look at. For too long, sculptural clay work has not
been respected or taken as seriously as other media in the fine art world.
An exhibit like this brings sculptural clay work into a realm where it
deserves to be.
Gayla Lemke on fri 9 mar 01
I am resending this as it may be one of the emails that got lost when the=20
server was down.
First of all, I did not interpret Judith's reference to an "impoverished=20
understanding of the variety of expression available in ceramics" as an=20
insult to Harvey. =A0She was making a statement about the GENERAL PUBLIC's=20
understanding of clay...and quite frankly, I agree with her. =A0Many people,=
who are not artists and are not educated in the arts, think of ceramics or=20
clay work (whatEVER the correct terminology may be) as purely functional,=20
wheel thrown objects or small nik naks. =A0Furthermore, the inclusion in the=
review of the show, of a comparison of the sculptural work with flower vases=
pretty tableware and dainty Hummel figures, was to me, a point of reference=20
for the general population. =A0
I have seen some of the pieces that are in this exhibition. =A0Yes, some are=
disturbing. =A0Yes, they do evoke a response. =A0However, I believe that an=20
exhibition which is captioned "confrontational" would be expected to be this=
and to do this.
As an artist who uses clay as my primary medium for making narrative,=20
figurative sculpture, I think it is great that Judith put this exhibition=20
together. =A0Art is not just about beauty and feeling good. =A0Art is an=20
expression from the soul of the artist and that includes things that may not=
be pleasant or pretty to look at. =A0For too long, sculptural clay work has=20=
been respected or taken as seriously as other media in the fine art world.=20
=A0An exhibit like this brings sculptural clay work into a realm where it=20
deserves to be.