Body and Soul: New International Ceramics / MAD Museum, New York
September 24, 2013 - March 2, 2014
In recent years, the human figure has returned to center stage in the work of artists around the world. Body & Soul: New International Ceramics underscores the power of the figure to convey strong emotions, and also to the accessibility of the ceramic medium. Through clay the figure becomes the catalyst for addressing the emotional impact of contemporary pressures that confront our society today. Each work, inspired by a personal incident or symbolic tale, expresses a deep emotional identity, contrasting societal, political, and personal views on themes such as anxiety, bias, mortality and memory.
The exhibition will highlight approximately 25 international artists who came to clay as painters, draughtsmen, or sculptors. Many are being shown for the first time in the United States. The range and quality of the works will make this exhibition engaging and provocative, and will bring this special area of creativity into a much-deserved focus.
“The artist with a social conscience who models in clay strives to capture an immediacy and a passion through tactile manipulation. With a focused purpose, he or she creates a specific message of historical or current concern, giving voice to a cause,” said Guest Curator Wendy Tarlow Kaplan. “Body & Soul underscores the ability of the human form to convey intense emotions, and we feel privileged to bring this important work together for the first time, and to address the human condition with raw power and pathos.”
“From ancient Greece through the Etruscans and Romans to the Renaissance and, ultimately, to the twenty-first century, clay has remained a powerful and immediate way of expressing ideas,” added David Revere McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator, Museum of Arts and Design. “Since 1956, when the Museum of Arts and Design opened in its first manifestation as the Museum of Contemporary Craft, we have underscored our commitment to ceramics in general, and ceramic sculpture in particular. The MAD collections include landmark works by such luminaries as Robert Arneson and Viola Frey, both of whom concentrated their vision on the human figure and its perpetually evolving nature. Body and Soul: New International Ceramics is the latest manifestation of how the humble and quotidian material born of the earth itself once again claims center stage in contemporary art.”
This exhibition is organized and curated by Wendy Tarlow Kaplan with the advisement of Laurent de Verneuil, Martin S. Kaplan, and by David McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design.