Sorry, folks. This post was on the blog for a moment, and then I took it down.
I'm putting it back! This is a brief examination of a queer perspective in ceramics (and craft, more generally) using the "uncanny" as a point of entry. I'd love to hear what you think!
(PSSST: Please feel free to read and comment, but let's not share without due credit, mmkay? Thanks team!)
Like I said in my last post, I'm still super busy, and working with a bunch of great folks! I'm currently publishing a few different articles (and an Ebook! Sssshhhhh) with CFile! CFile is "a news and review journal edited by Garth Clark, [and] receives over 720,000 visits a year (and growing) from readers in 189 countries. Only two years old, it’s already the most influential champion for avant-garde ceramics." Isn't that exciting!?
Anyway, my first article for CFile came out last week. It's a review of NCECA 2016, specifically focusing on what I consider an emergent trend: cute ceramics. You can find the entire article (and some great comments and conversations) HERE!
Be sure to hang around there for a minute, it's such a great resource... maybe check out their catalogue library?
Here's a little taste of the review... be sure to read the whole thing!
"Cute has connotations of pity and possession. When we consider something cute, it’s because it is somehow less than equal, often of diminutive size, age, and complexity. Cuteness is something we assign to others, it is rarely self-assigned or appreciated by the subject. We pity a cute thing, because it’s not beautiful, it’s not complex. It is simply adorable and the subject of our well-meaning, possessive, and nurturing intentions.
More than any of this, cute sells. Cute is the aesthetic of kitsch, of mainstream, commodified culture that exists to placate and pleasure. It typically provokes little thought or introspection.
Cute invokes commodity, it leverages itself on the pleasurable grounds of kitsch, on baby animals in the pet store, adorable children’s toys, and syrupy sweet figurines.
This current use of cute, however, has a dark undertone, as Marta Finkelstein’s bunny weeps beneath a chastity belt in Guilt, and Molly Allen’s deer threatens to crumble off of it’s too-long legs in The In-Between. The influence of irony is felt, as cute is subverted, made monstrous, sexualized, or otherwise twisted."
It's dark, folks, READ UP.
Sorry for the lack of posts over here lately, but the good news is... I'm done with my THESIS!
yes. that's right, "Craftivist Clay: Resistance and Activism in Contemporary Ceramics" is DONE!
It's so so true. If you'd like to read a copy, feel free to email me at mcbaumstark[at]gmail.com. I'm currently looking to publish this bad boy (what WHAT) and so I'd politely ask that if you read it, you don't distribute it or share it widely. That said, hit me up! I'd love to chat about some craftivist ceramics with you!
Here's the thing, though. Finishing my thesis means I have a whole ton of time on my hands, and I'm lucky enough to be working with and writing for some excellent folks!
I'm currently working with the brilliant founders and members of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective!
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Wow, Mary, that sounds right up your alley and straight into your wheelhouse!"
And then I'm like, "What is a wheelhouse? Pick a metaphor."
ANYWAY, I posted my first blog post over there quite recently, and I'd love for you to check it out here!
Here's a quick teaser to wet your whistle (OK I'M DONE)
"A performance that would meet the conditions of “socially engaged” necessitates a willing and participatory public that engages with the maker/artist in a series of social intra-actions, such as dialogue, touch, affect, or direct participation. These intra-actions form a social bond informed by (ideally) ethical behaviours of the maker/artist, who considers the participants as much as themselves or their produced objects. Social practice, as articulated by Helguera and supported by a desire to increase the social bond, considers the ethics and positionaliy of the aforementioned participatory public, acting and reacting in real time."
Y'all. Read it. And check out some of the other AMAZING projects profiled there, as well as our roster of kick ass, socially engaged artists and makers!
Mary Callahan Baumstark is a maker, writer, and researcher with an M.A. in Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario. She is interested in trendspotting in contemporary ceramics and organizing socially engaged or activist projects. She is the current Resident Art Historian for the Socially Engaged Craft Collective.