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.
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.