Louis Katz on wed 7 mar 01
Just a few words on how things are shaping up here
in the Carolinas. Nothing
but good news!
Yesterday I had dinner with a reporter from the
New York Times. He is on
assignment to write about the Carolinas being THE
hotspot for clay, at least
for this month. The Mint Museum of Craft & Design
apparently had something
to do with setting this up. Mark Leach, MMCD
director, is away in Europe and
he could not
attend but Mary Douglas, curator of the Chasanoff
collection, was there to
take his place. Also attending dinner were Ben
Owen III and Rob Williams,
owner of WDO Gallery.
The article will be out sometime in the next two
weeks. Not in their Sunday
issue, but definitely sometime before our
conference. He said he would
contact me and let me know the date. If any of you
see it, please let me
know. I am sure I will be misquoted but any press
is good press--as long as
he does not
bring up Demi Moore and the "Ghost" movie
We have also been in at least area three
newspapers with featured articles.
articles in lesser publications. These have
generally been information
articles on our conference and upcoming
exhibitions. Plenty of images. So
far, I haven't seen any critical articles dealing
with any of the shows.
To date we have 88 exhibitions scheduled for the
area. I believe this is a
new unofficial record. I counted 81 in Columbus
and 85 in Denver. Wow, 88
shows. That is incredible! Something for everyone.
Many of the professional galleries had their
openings last Friday night. I
had my opening in the Hodges Taylor Gallery and
did not/could not travel
around that night. There was a very good crowd at
HT and a lot of
On Saturday I made it to at least 6 shows to see,
video tape and photograph
them. I did not see a weak show.
IMHO the "Digital Ceramics" show at the Light
Factory is the most pleasant
surprise and my personal favorite. Les Lawrence
curated an outstanding show
with many notable pieces. Do try to see this show
if you have a free moment.
The gallery is isolated but somewhat near downtown
WDO Gallery has "Great Legacies, Great Teachers"
and it lives up to its
expectations. It features 16 well known artists
showing approx. 3-4 pieces
each. It is a very beautiful and important show.
This area, Historic South
End, is easily assessable from the Convention
Center by the historic Trolley
car line. It is a $2.00 round trip ride. The
station is right behind the
Convention Center. There are three other shows in
this area as well.
Michel Conroy's show, "Southern Narratives" is
sparkling. Very colorful and
attractive. Good job Michel! It is in a small
gallery in the Spirit Square
building. It has high traffic potential but is
next to two larger galleries
that are dealing with Christianity and religious
themes. Too bad we couldn't
have had access to these other galleries in this
building. The Empty Bowls
charity project will have their pots on display in
this lobby. Spirit Square
is right next to the Mint Museum of Craft &
Also near the MMCD, the "North Carolina Clay, Past
and Present" show is up
in the Bank of America lobby. Lobby shows are
always problematic and this is
not an exception. The Bank of America is one of
America's biggest banks and
this new building reflects it's importance.
However, the show is poorly lit
in a lobby that is much too big. This show lacks
intimacy. The work gets swallowed up by the 90
foot plus ceilings. Ben
Long's huge frescos dominate this room. The work
is displayed under
Plexiglas which is expected and necessary but it
makes photographing them
nearly impossible and it further removes them from
our contact. I am glad
could put this show on display but I wished they
could have found a better
spot. North Carolina's clay history is too
important for this treatment.
The Alan Chasanoff collection (at the MMCD) has
been up since November and
excellent. It will be the show everyone will talk
about. Enough said. Go see
it, you will not be disappointed.
In Rock Hill, SC the Museum of York County's
exhibition "Difference in Dirt"
has also been up
since November. They have done an excellent job of
Carolina's clay history from Prehistoric times to
the present. This is how
North Carolina should have displayed their work.
This show will serve as an
excellent final leg of the Rock Hill shuttle bus
Winthrop University's Gallery, also in Rock Hill,
has the "NCECA Clay
National". It too is impressive and beautifully
displayed. I am going to
show my bias and state that there are
not enough pots in this show but, hey, I can do
that. I am not asking for a
50/50 split but there are too few pots and even
fewer functional pots. I
feel two of the jurors, Michael Lucero and Jim
Melchert, must have ganged up
on poor old Cynthia Bringle. Maybe next time we
can have two potters and one
sculptor as jurors for the next Clay
National! Lets start a petition!!
Tom Stanley, Winthrop's Gallery Director, has been
scheduling lectures to
coincide with the Clay National. Mary Douglas
talked last week and Paul
Matheny, curator of the "Difference in Dirt" show
spoke the week before.
These have occurred during my advance class
period. So far, this semester
has been a washout as far as the students getting
any work done but they
will grow tenfold from all the exposure.
Also on the Winthrop campus will be 8 more
exciting and important shows.
These will include a 1) Penland show, 2) a Catawba
Indian show, 3)a South
Carolina Juried/Invitational show, 4) a show by
West Virginia University
that features contemporary Chinese and American
artists, 5) a show called
"6x6, a Show of Sets" dealing with how we use sets
and multiples, 6) a show
that deals with contemporary artists and their use
of historical precedents,
7) a show called a "Cupboard Full of Pots: a
Personal Collection", and
finally 8) an Alumni/Current Student show by
Winthrop University students.
All of these shows are all my personal babies, I
hope you enjoy them.
In downtown Rock Hill the NCECA Regional Student
Juried Exhibition went up a
couple of weeks ago. It too looks good, however,
their new gallery director
not too savvy and has placed all the pedestals
along the wall making it a
perimeter show with very few pieces in the middle
of the room. My suggestion
to place them so one could walk around the work
went on deaf ears.
Otherwise, it is a good looking show representing
the region well. Along
with the RSJE, there are 5 student installations.
These two shows, along
with the other 8 invited regional university
programs (in the downtown
storefronts) should prove to make downtown Rock
Hill a nice oasis of student
work and another important stop on the RH shuttle
Nan Smith's installation show, "Beyond the
Physical: Substance, Space,
Light" at the University of North
Carolina-Charlotte has been up since
January. This is a very nice, professional show
featuring 9 artists who have
not had prior NCECA exhibition exposure. Nan has
worked hard to
put this show together and her hard work has paid
off. Kudos to her and the
artists. I highly recommend seeing this show.
South of Charlotte in Columbia, SC, the University
of South Carolina opened
their figurative show, "Figuration in Clay, a
Collection". This is from the
collection of Ron Porter and it is an outstanding
show with top shelf names
featuring some of their best work. The
Doug Jeck piece is breathtaking. It is about two
hours south of Charlotte
but well worth the effort to travel. We went to
the opening last week and we
were richly rewarded. It is unfortunate this show
is not closer to the
Oh yea, the Hodges Taylor Gallery had
"Southeastern Ceramics" open on
Friday, featuring 14 artists from the region.
Since I am included, I am a
bit biased. Needless to say, it is impressive!!
And, close to the MMCD.
Many other shows have opened but I haven't had
time to visit them. Winthrop
is on Spring Break this week and I shall use my
time off effectively. High
on my list is the Jerald Melberg Gallery. He is
showing "Is it Clay? Trompe
l'oeil Ceramics" featuring Richard Shaw, Marilyn
Levine, David Furman and
Victor Spinski. I have always admired their work.
Many more will be opening in the coming weeks with
the majority scheduled to
open the week of the conference.
The NCECA web page is http://nceca.net If you
click on the first page, up
at the top, on "Evolving Legacies", it will take
you to the Charlotte
I received my latest copy of Ceramics Monthly this
week. It has the NCECA
2001 conference preview featured in the back. It
looks pretty good and
accurate. Ceramics Monthly does a great job making
the maps and letting
NCECA use them in the conference program. Ruth
Butler, CM editor, has done
this for three years and should be praised for
this public service. Let Ruth
know we appreciate it when you see her at the
Clay Times will sponsor this year's band at the
Friday night dance. Please
be sure to tell Polly Beach, CT editor, we
Ruth Butler wrote to me and said the response she
has been receiving has
and she predicts a huge turnout. Minerva
Navarrete, NCECA Conference
is predicting 3,700 attendees based on
pre-registration numbers. I am
the number will approach 4,000. The record NCECA
crowd is approximately
3,500 which was set last year in Denver. We will
be bursting at the seams!
The volunteer coordinators have told me they have
just about filled up the
list of student volunteers. Vicky Smith has
reported that she plans to
finalize her list this week. Likewise for the demo
Baker. These two have done an outstanding job and
have taken a tremendous
burden off of my back. Volunteers are the backbone
of NCECA, smile at them
and telling you appreciate it.
The "Official Charlotte Conference T-Shirts" are
printed and ready for sale.
They were designed by my wife, Paula Smith. They
have gotten good reviews
from those that have seen them. It is a white
T-Shirt (long and short
sleeves) with the colorful image compiling a mass
of symbols of the area.
This will include a map of the Carolinas, peaches,
Queen Charlotte, a face
jug, a Dave the Potter jar, a fighting cock, cows,
a steaming cup and saucer
and the sun. Sounds strange, eh? You will have to
see it to appreciate it!
The booth will be in
the Charlotte Convention Center and will go on
sale Wednesday through
Friday. I have also secured 1,000 large mailing
tubes (for all the posters)
that we will give away free with each T-Shirt
purchase. One to a customer.
The Adams Mark Hotel has a sports bar with a very
rigid dress code. Our type
will never come up to their standards and we have
tried to get them to relax
their policy for our conference. They have refused
for reasons I would
rather not go into. Minerva and I have persuaded
the management to have the
large area by the Ballroom be turned into a
temporary bar/social area. On
Wednesday and Thursday night they will have drinks
served after each nights
activities (Keynote & Randall). Let your friends
know. Minerva insisted that
they not open/serve drinks until the activities
All the rooms at the Adams Mark Hotel will be used
by NCECA attendees. In
fact, there is nary a hotel room available in
downtown Charlotte except for
some of the mega-expensive rooms.
It sounds like a PARTY!!!
Do not miss the Keynote Speech on Wednesday night.
The NCECA Board realizes
last year's Keynote length turned a lot of people
off. This year will be
different. Marlena Smalls and her Halleluiah
Singers will perform. Marlena
is from the South Carolina Sea Island culture and
she will regale us and
inform us about the Gullah tradition. I have seen
her perform and she is
great. You will love it. All of you have seen
Marlena in the movie "Forrest
Gump". She played Bubba's Mom.
My school (and NCECA conference host institution),
Winthrop University, won
their conference basketball tournament on
Saturday. They are headed to the
NCAA Basketball Big Dance! I know you non-sport
fans could care less but
this will give some of the attendees a name
connection. Since we do not have
a football team and have always stunk (sport wise)
in the past, it is great
to have them win when the NCECA conference is
coming. Boolah Boolah!
The Carolina's have already had great weather.
Last week we had a 72 degree
day. It was glorious! Many trees are starting to
bloom. The area is dotted
with pink, yellow and white flowered trees as well
as colorful pansy and
flowers. By the end of March the azaleas and
dogwoods will be out peppering
the area with bright colors.
Three more weeks! I am excited! See you soon.