New Blue and White / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

New Blue and White exhibition Museum of Fine Arts Boston, work by Harumi Nakashima

New Blue and White / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
February 20, 2013 - July 14, 2013

New Blue and White at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, showcases inventive works in blue and white by 40 international artists and designers.

Over the past millennium, blue-and-white ceramics have become an international phenomenon—familiar as Dutch Delftware, Ming vases, and Blue Willow china, among other forms. Today, the popular ceramic medium continues to offer inspiration, especially to the more than 40 international artists and designers whose works are presented in New Blue and White at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). On view from February 20 through July 14 in the MFA’s Henry and Lois Foster Gallery, the exhibition highlights nearly 70 objects made over the course of the past 15 years across a wide array of media. Many of these works offer a contemporary twist to traditional blue-and-white imagery using abstraction, digital manipulation, contemporary subject matter, and even trompe l’oeil to surprise and delight. They range from small porcelains to room-size installations and include never-before-seen creations by artists such as Mark Cooper, Annabeth Rosen, Pouran Jinchi, and Kurt Weiser, and recent MFA acquisitions of work by fashion label Rodarte and ceramic sculptor Chris Antemann. Also on view are ceramics by Nakashima Harumi, Robert Dawson, and Steven Lee. The exhibition is presented with generous support from The Wornick Fund for Contemporary Craft. Additional support is provided by The John and Bette Cohen Fund for Contemporary Decorative Arts, and the Joel Alvord and Lisa Schmid Alvord Fund.

“The works in New Blue and White deftly show how one remarkable set of material traditions, which have had a profound international impact, can inspire new generations of artists. They make surprising, beautiful connections across time and cultures, helping us understand our history and our present,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA.

At its simplest, blue and white refers to the application of cobalt pigment on white clay. It originated in 9th-century Mesopotamia and subsequently captured the imaginations of artists throughout Asia. Through a frenzy of trade networks and stylistic exchange, these coveted works made their way to Europe and eventually the New World. With them went multiple narratives focused on ideas as varied as wealth, power, beauty, family, exoticism, colonialism, and commerce. Inspired by this rich and varied global legacy, today’s artists create works that tell contemporary stories incorporating cultural, social, and historical references. To illustrate this, four themes will be presented to guide visitor engagement with the objects in the exhibition: Cultural Camouflage; Memory and Narrative; Abstract Interpretations; and Political Meaning.

Exhibiting artists: Ann Agee (US), Chris Antemann (US), Katsuyo Aoki (Japan), Felicity Aylieff (England), Robin Best (Australia), Stephen Bowers (Australia), Boym Partners [Constantin Boym (Russian) and Laurene Boym (American)], Caroline Cheng (England), Mark Cooper (US), Claire Curneen (Ireland), Robert Dawson (England), Barbara Diduk (US), Michelle Erickson (US), Front Design (Sofia Lagerkvist, Anna Lindren, Katja S’vstr’m, Charlotte von der Lancken) (Sweden), Gésine Hackenberg (Germany), Molly Hatch (US), Giselle Hicks (US), Sin Ying Ho (China), Pouran Jinchi (Iran), Hella Jongerius (Netherlands), Charles Krafft (US), Steven Lee (US), Li Lihong (China), Beth Lo (US), Livia Marin (Chile), Harumi Nakashima (Japan), Rodarte (Kate and Laura Mulleavy) (US), Annabeth Rosen (US), Richard Saja (US), Eduardo Sarabia (US), Paul Scott (England), Richard Shaw (US), Tommy Simpson (US), Caroline Slotte (Finland), Min-Jeong Song (Korea), Vipoo Srivilasa (Thailand), Kondô Takahiro (Japan), Brendan Tang (Canada), Studio Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe (Neils Van Eijk, Mirian Van der Lubbe) (Netherlands), Peter Walker (US), Kurt Weiser (US), Ah Xian (China).

New Blue and White exhibition Museum of Fine Arts Boston, work by Gesine Hackenberg

Gallery Talks
- Thursday, March 14, 1–2 p.m., “New Blue and White,” led by exhibition curator Emily Zilber, Ronald L. and Anita C.
Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the MFA
- Thursday, April 4, 1–2 p.m., “New Blue and White,” led by Emily Zilber
- Wednesday, May 15, 6–7 p.m., “Past/Present: Blue and White, Old and New,” led by Thomas Michie, Russell B. and
Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the MFA, and Emily Zilber
- Thursday, June 13, 1–2 p.m., “New Blue and White,” led by Emily Zilber

Artist Demonstration
Ceramic Art with Molly Hatch
- Sunday, March 17, noon – 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 20, 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Free with Museum admission. Made possible by The Lowell Institute.

Participants can explore the world of ceramics with Molly Hatch, one of the artists featured in the New Blue and White. Using her grouping of plates inspired by the Baroque painting, The Swing, she will demonstrate how she translates two-dimensional drawings and paintings into three-dimensional ceramic forms. The artist will share her techniques for drawing in clay, including slip inlay and carving. Visitors can try some of the techniques during the demonstration. Hatch graduated with her BFA from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2000 and her MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2008. She has taught numerous workshops and courses and exhibits her work both nationally and internationally. In addition to working as an artist, she is an active product designer for the Philadelphia based company Anthropologie. For more information visit:

Read more about the exhibition or download the press release.

Karen Frascona
Tel. 617 369 3442
General Information Tel. 617-267-9300

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
United States

first image
Harumi Nakashima, Work 0808, 2008, Glazed stoneware. Collection Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, New York. Photo by Geoff Spear, New York. © Harumi Nakashima. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

second image
Gesine Hackenberg, Delft Blue ‘Plooischotel’ Necklace, 2012, Wall plate of Delfts Blue earthenware by De Porceleyne Fles, nylon thread. Courtesy Seinna Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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