Let's be real. I don't have enough time to be participating in both academia and craft journalism. I wrote this paper before the NYT piece on "White Hot Ceramics" came out, and before CFile came back with an excellent rebuttal.
Point is, ceramics is #trending, and that's a really great thing. It brings attention, acclaim, and money to the discipline and participates in a contemporary cultural dialogue. GREAT. The problem is, is that the people who are articulating this "trend," both the makers and writers, are doing so with a very limited perspective. This trend, like most trends, ignores the history and depth of studio ceramics in the US and Canada, marginalizing makers who have devoted their lives and talents to making better, more complex pottery than the kind that's being showcase.
I wrote a paper this semester, only to hand it in and see the NYT article a few days later. "Wow," I thought, "This would have been a GREAT source for my paper," and then CFile's rebuttal came soon after and I thought, "Wow, I just said something remarkably similar."
So here's my contribution to the conversation.
You can read the NYT article here and the CFile response here (God bless Garth Clark's scathing rhetoric...)
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.