Roberta Smith is , in my opinion, a very good art critic. She recently wrote about the Philadelphia ICA show, dirt on delight.
Huge props to her for approaching ceramics in the "art world" topic to start off the evening. It wasn't well received and 30-40% of the crowd walked out during her talk which made it a little awkward.
where the exodus happened.
I loved every minute of what she had to say because it was the UPenn senior critic jargon and I'm now far enough away from the grad school experience to understand what they/ she was saying.
She started off with something about understanding why the clay community is shunned by fine art. Cue for the masses to leave. It was awkward to say the least and I don't think a lot of people understood where she was coming from.
She didn't touch upon utilitarian work directly which caused more people to leave and approached the entire talk from the NYC perspective. This caused a lot of grumbling and ill feeling, at least to the crowd around me and it was very evident at the end during the Q & A session.
She spoke in great depth about the heavy hitters in the art world using clay as a medium, Julian schnabel, Koons, Pollock etc. Called Ken Price the pollock of the ceramic world. (oooh not so tactful roberta)
and then did an in depth review of the artists and art represented at the ICA dirt on delight show. She mentioned Jane Irish and my heart fluttered. Jane is the UPenn grad program coordinator and the only faculty member who was a fan of my work.
Roberta also spoke about object relationships to pedestals which is a topic near and dear to my very own breakdown of sanity and for the love of all things, I still cannot wrap my head around why this is so fucking important. I get the history of it but critics you need to drop it and move on. (sorry rant)
In regards to the ICA show she spoke about objects being poorly made and the use of clay by non ceramic artists as being unskilled approach and that skill is tied into craft. (whew that ruffled some audience feathers, cue stampede to get to the doors) She referenced the work that was non functioning, weird proportions, heavy, over glazed that is rampant. ie: sterling ruby
Roberta said a few "nice" things about ceramics like it's the only medium whee you are really touching the artists marks. She also understood and talked about misrepresentation of ceramics in fine art and how the ICA show was skewed, but that she loved it because it's a start and you gotta start somewhere. She drew parallels to the conceptual art movement that broke apart modernism and said she thought clay was entering the break through stage since todays artists are post material and that material does not dictate, pigeonhole anymore.
She ended the talk with the idea that we live in a visually illiterate nation and what the job of the critic is, also touched upon learning to listen to yourself, honing in on your gut reaction.
let's just say the Q & A was brutal.
my favorite quote of the night.
"If you make something and I can tell you what it is about, one of us is stupid."
here are some pictures!! way better than words :)
I would go back and title these pictures but i'm a little exhausted, maybe i'll fix it tomorrow.