I brake for clay

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On my way to see “Silver Garden,” at the PMA, the wonderful photography show I told you about here, I stopped in my tracks in the crafts corridor right outside the Julien Levy ramp. What’s up now is a sample of some really amazing work from the Contemporary Crafts Collection, including, and here’s the news, work by ceramic artists represented by the new Hurong Lou Gallery in Old City.

I had just spent time at Hurong Lou with the gallerist and his assistant, the artist Blazo Kovacevic, and they brought me up to speed after a fashion on the fine art clay scene. (Lou previously was Gallery director at Helen Drutt Gallery and when Drutt closed Hurong decided he needed to open a gallery of his own. His artists include many from the Drutt stable). Anyway, I’m going back to Hurong Lou today to see a new show but I want to float a bunch of images of beauties I saw at the PMA that will be a warm up to a post and a PW story I’m going to do on the new craft gallery. (top image, from PMA, is “Middle of Somewhere” 2002, glazed porcelain, by Korean-born artist Sun Koo Yuh. I had seen a similar piece at Hurong Lou.)
yuh, sun koo
I don’t know how often the PMA rotates the selection of works in this corridor but I’ve always found many happy moments here studying works that have nice interplay with each other.


Here’s a bowl by Jill Bonovitz, “Softly Sighing,” 1989. I saw a similar bowl at Hurong Lou with a 2005 date on it I believe. Hurong told me that the artist, known — to me at least — for her anthropomorphic white porcelain vases with tiny legs, was making bowls again. No more cha-cha dancing vases.

“Osiris Vegefrogged,” 1973, glazed earthenware by David Gilhooly. The piece, small, colorful and frog-like sits next to a large green-glazed bust by Robert Arneson titled “Portrait of David (David Gilhooly) from 1977. Arneson is one of my all time favorite ceramic artists. You’ll have to see his piece in person because my photo is too fuzzy even for me to put up with. (you can’t tell from this shot but you look down on Gilhooly’s humble mound of vegetables which must be maybe 12” high)

“Olive Oropendola on Bucket,” 2001, glazed stoneware, by George Johnson. No words can express. So sweet, so funny.
“Head” by Rudolf Staffel, glazed stoneware with incised decoration, 1938. and “Double Face Jug and Candleholder,” 1993, Cleater C.S. and Billie Meaders. The big news is the Staffel, whose paper thin “Light Catchers” are what I think of when I think of his ouervre. Here, a very heart-felt piece, pre-Civil Rights era, with an image of a lynching on top of the dark ceramic head. Amazing, haunting, disturbing and beautiful.

This is a small selection from a much larger installation. I highly recommend a visit.

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