Coming in July: Special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition at the Denver Art Museum

This July we will make a special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, which is on view June 11 through September 18, 2011.

It will include images with the exhibited works and many interviews with the participating artists. You will find all the related content in the Overthrown page.

Also, the interviews will be featured in our special edition newsletter (will be sent at the end of the month). Subscribe here if you haven’t already.

Read the preview of the interview with Gwen F. Chanzit, the curator of the exhibition.

The twenty-five artists in Overthrown: Clay Without Limits took on adventurous challenges to make the works in this exhibition. Most were made especially for Overthrown and many are in direct dialogue with our dynamic Daniel Libeskind-designed architecture; they move beyond the pedestal to the wall, the floor, and even the ceiling. A few extend beyond the Anschutz Gallery, across the entire museum complex. They break boundaries that are physical, technological, conceptual, and spatial.

Working in all scales, from architecturally expansive to almost impossibly small, the artists in Overthrown employ twenty-first-century technology hand-in-hand with standard modeling and molding techniques. They use digital cameras, computers, laser cutters, 3-D printers, and computer-controlled mills along with more traditional tools.

Some push the forms of functional objects. Others push the limits of fragility. They take risks that draw on material chemistry and maverick kiln techniques. Some of their works include not only clay, but also found objects such as metal, plastic, and abandoned industrial materials. Overthrowing our expectations of ceramic art—its size, its context, its methods, and its meaning—these artists show us new ways of using this versatile and timeless material.

Artists:

Katie Caron
Nathan Craven
Benjamin DeMott
Kim Dickey
Heather Mae Erickson
Neil Forrest
John Gill
Del Harrow
Marie T. Hermann
Tsehai Johnson
Andrew Martin
Walter McConnell
Kristen Morgin
Mia Mulvey
Jeanne Quinn
John Roloff
Annabeth Rosen
Anders Ruhwald
Martha Russo
Paul Sacaridiz
Linda Sormin
Julian Stair
Brendan Tang
Cheryl Ann Thomas
Clare Twomey

Curator: Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive

Location: Anschutz Gallery, Level Two, Hamilton Building / The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $3 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. The Cultural Complex Garage is open; enter from 12th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock or check the DAM website for up-to-date parking information. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit http://www.denverartmuseum.org/ or call 720-865-5000.

Interview with Gwen F. Chanzit - Special feature for The Denver Art Museum, July 2011

Interview with Gwen F. Chanzit, the curator of Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition at The Denver Art Museum, July 2011

This is the first interview we’ve made for the special Overthrown feature. The special feature for The Denver Art Museum covers more interviews with artists exhibiting at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, which is on view June 11 through September 18, 2011. Subscribe here to receive the special edition of our newsletter.

Ceramics Now Magazine: How did you find the artists for Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition? Was it hard or you already had their names in mind?

Gwen F. Chanzit: I spent many months researching, talking with artists in the field, and visiting artists in their studios.  I also participated in symposia at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I was introduced to the work of additional artists.

From well over 100 file folders with research on the work of individual artists, I narrowed my selections by reviewing these regularly, moving the folders into piles that grew into “yes,”  “maybe,” and “no.”  I was particularly interested in showing the breadth of work that ceramic artists are accomplishing today.  Sometimes when I made a studio visit to see one artist, I discovered another artist or two.


Ceramics Now Magazine: What are the criteria on which you selected the artists for this exhibition?

Gwen F. Chanzit: I look for quality, inventiveness, and artists who are pushing the limits to develop new methodologies. 

Working in all scales, from architecturally expansive to almost impossibly small, the artists in Overthrown employ twenty-first-century technology hand-in-hand with standard modeling and molding techniques. They use digital cameras, computers, laser cutters, 3-D printers, and computer-controlled mills along with more traditional tools. Some push the forms of functional objects. Others push the limits of fragility. They take risks that draw on material chemistry and maverick kiln techniques. Some of their works include not only clay, but also found objects such as metal, plastic, and abandoned industrial materials. Overthrowing our expectations of ceramic art —its size, its context, its methods, and its meaning—these artists show us new ways of using this versatile and timeless material.

Ceramics Now Magazine: Did the exhibition space offered many obstacles? How did the artists adapt to the space?

Gwen F. Chanzit: The exhibition space is a dynamic Daniel Libeskind design with angular walls and interesting spaces that are wonderful for exhibiting three-dimensional work. The soaring ceilings provide particularly good opportunities for large scale work. Each artist was encouraged to utilize these exciting spaces—which they did.

Most of the works were made especially for this exhibition, and many are in direct dialogue with the site—they move beyond the pedestal to the wall, the floor, and even the ceiling. A few extend across the entire museum complex. They break boundaries that are physical, technological, conceptual, and spatial.

Ceramics Now Magazine: On what principles do you guide on preparing an exhibition like this, with more than 20 artists participating?

Gwen F. Chanzit: It’s important to show each artist’s work with integrity, to enable the work to have enough space to show itself well.  It was a particular goal for each work in this exhibition to be seen independently—-with the added bonus of long vistas across the gallery from work to work.


Ceramics Now Magazine: Do you have any guidelines for the artists? How long ago did you contact and proposed them to exhibit at the Denver Art Museum?

Gwen F. Chanzit: I encouraged each of the 25 artists to be very ambitious—not to be hindered by cost of materials or limitations of space.  Most artists had just over a year to prepare the work—a very short time in the world of these ceramic installations where challenges of materials and techniques had to be resolved.  In some cases, kilns had to be built..

Ceramics Now Magazine:  Significant support was provided by different foundations and citizens. What is DAM’s relationship with foundations and donors?

As most non-profits, the Denver Art Museum appreciates the significant support received by foundations and donors.

Ceramics Now Magazine:  What part or what limits of this exhibition you find yourself connected to?

I am connected to all parts of the exhibition.

Ceramics Now Magazine: What expectations do you have from this exhibition?

Gwen F. Chanzit: I very much hope this exhibition will overthrow some expectations of what ceramics might be.  It is a versatile and timeless material that is being used in new inventive ways in the 21st century.

——————————————————————-

Gwen Chanzit is curator of modern and contemporary art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive, Denver Art Museum. She has organized many DAM exhibitions including Bonnard, Matisse from the Baltimore Museum of Art, Martha Daniels Grotto, Vance Kirkland: The Late Paintings and Color as Field, as well as numerous exhibitions on Herbert Bayer. Her rotation in the modern and contemporary art galleries for Marvelous Mud is Focus: Earth and Fire.

Among her many publications, Chanzit has authored two books on Herbert Bayer; contributed essays to DAM exhibition catalogs, RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan and The View From Denver; served as editor and authored essays for the 2009 exhibition catalog, Embrace!; and published an essay in the Austrian exhibition catalog, Ahoi, Herbert: Bayer und die moderne (2009). 

For Marvelous Mud, Chanzit is curating Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, an exhibition in the Anschutz Gallery that features new work by 25 contemporary artists—most of whom work very large scale. She is also preparing a catalog and organizing a related symposium in September 2011.

Chanzit is a frequent lecturer locally, nationally and internationally. She often serves as juror for art competitions and exhibitions and has been a guest curator at the Aspen Institute and the University of Denver. Chanzit holds a Ph.D. in art history and contributes to the future generation of museum professionals as director of the graduate program in museum studies at the University of Denver’s School of Art and Art History.

Visit the Modern and Contemporary Art Collection's web page on the Denver Art Museum website.

  

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and like our Facebook page if you want to stay in touch with us.
→ Read more interviews with ceramic artists and search through our featured artists.

Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits

Overthrown, Clay Without Limits - The Denver Art MuseumOverthrown: Clay Without Limits brings together regional, national and international artists who push the boundaries of clay to create large-scale installations that respond to the dynamic architecture of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building. The majority of the 25 participating artists will create site-specific artworks. Highlights include a large-scale ceramic and found object sculpture by Linda Sormin that utilizes the colossal, slanted wall in the Hamilton Building atrium; an installation of suspended clay flakes, the largest around 300 pounds, by Neil Forrest; a 23-foot chandelier by Jeanne Quinn; and a tiled enclosure with freestanding elements by Anders Ruhwald. Overthrown also includes a sampling of smaller ceramic objects that acknowledges that other means, besides size, can challenge expectations of the material.

Exhibition curator: Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive

Location: Anschutz Gallery, Level Two, Hamilton Building

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits is organized by the Denver Art Museum. Significant support is provided by Fred and Jana Bartlit and Vicki and Kent Logan. Additional funding is provided by the Adolph Coors Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, and The Denver Post. Special thanks to the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art.

The exhibition is part of Marvelous Mud: Clay Around The World exhibition, and it’s on view June 11 through September 18, 2011.

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $3 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. The Cultural Complex Garage is open; enter from 12th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock or check the DAM website for up-to-date parking information. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit http://www.denverartmuseum.org/ or call 720-865-5000.

Search through our featured artists' works

We’ve been very busy these days and we’re sorry for not posting new works and artists. Working at TIFF is time-consuming, but it’s so interesting (www.tiff.ro/en), yesterday we’ve worked at the official opening show with Companie des Quidams, and today we’ll be working with SONORO (www.sonoro.ro/en/).

In the meantime, you can search through our featured artists’ works: http://www.ceramicsnow.org/featured, and don’t forget that our Monthly Newsletter will be out this month with a special featuring (interviews and images) from The Denver Art Museum!

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter if you want to stay in touch with us.

Marvelous Mud: Clay Through the Ages - Exhibition, The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) takes a closer look at the medium of clay in its summer exhibition Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World. Celebrating the prolific and diverse material, Marvelous Mud reveals how clay has shaped culture, creativity, science and industry over time and around the globe. The museum-wide exhibition explores one major medium and illustrates its diversity and history through fascinating stories that span time and geographic location. Marvelous Mud is on view June 11 through September 18, 2011, and offers a different way for visitors to experience the DAM’s programs and collections.

Marvelous Mud features seven exhibitions throughout the Hamilton and North buildings, hands-on and live programming with artists and experts and indoor and outdoor creation stations that allows visitors to discover the medium.

The exhibition kicks off with a weekend of celebration. Saturday and Sunday will feature lively onsite activities. Ceramic artist Bob Smith will perform a demonstration of raku firing on the plaza. This visual pyrotechnic firing process takes pots from the kiln at maximum temperatures. The pots are then put into containers of sawdust that produce a thick black smoke that adds to the finish of the vessel. Families can also explore the Mud Studio hands-on activity area and participate in artmaking projects at new in-gallery Hotspots.

Marajó: Ancient Ceramics at the Mouth of the Amazon, located in the Martin and McCormick Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building, focuses on the elaborately decorated red, white and black earthenware ceramics from the people who occupied the Brazilian island of Marajó from A.D. 400 to 1300. Much of the island is flooded each year by rising river waters, so its inhabitants built large artificial mounds to support dwellings, ceremonial spaces and cemeteries. Adorned in an ornate style with modeled, carved and painted human faces and figures, reptiles, snakes and birds, Marajó ceramics were used for feasting, ceremonial life and funerary offerings. Despite their artistic sophistication, ancient Amazonian ceramics are largely unknown to the public. Marajó is the first exhibition devoted to this topic in the United States. Curated by Margaret Young-Sánchez.

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, located primarily in the Anschutz Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building, brings together regional, national and international artists who push the boundaries of clay to create large-scale installations that respond to the dynamic architecture of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building. The majority of the 25 participating artists will create site-specific artworks. Highlights include a large-scale ceramic and found object sculpture by Linda Sormin that utilizes the colossal slanted wall in the Hamilton Building atrium; an installation of clay flakes, each around 300 pounds, by Neil Forrest; a 23-foot chandelier by Jeanne Quinn; and a tiled enclosure with freestanding elements by Anders Ruhwald. Overthrown also includes a sampling of smaller ceramic objects that acknowledges that other means, besides size, can challenge expectations of the material. Curated by Gwen Chanzit.

Blue and White: A Ceramic Journey, located in the William Sharpless Jackson Jr. Gallery on level five of the North Building, conveys the popularity of blue-and-white pottery throughout the centuries in different parts of the world. The technique of creating blue-and-white ceramics was a great innovation of Chinese ceramic history and they became a vital component of China’s export trade. The exhibit will feature objects from early periods of blue-and-white ceramic production to present day examples.

Dirty Pictures, located in the Delisa and Anthony Mayer Gallery on level seven of the North Building, shows the varied ways photographers have depicted mud in their work. Whether as media for photographic construction, as the substance of metaphor or as a mark of human interaction with the earth—mud, clay, dirt and soil have made prominent appearances in the work of many photographers in the past 35 years. Featuring pieces by artists including Dieter Appelt, Zeke Berman, Jungjin Lee and Joel Sternfield, this exhibition aims to both examine these differences and draw connections between the varied uses of these materials in contemporary photography.

Focus: Earth and Fire, located primarily on level four of the Hamilton Building, showcases ceramic work in the DAM’s modern and contemporary art collection, as well as paintings that respond to earth and fire. In recognizing that there are as many ways of responding to earth and fire as there are creative ventures, our presentation takes the widest approach to this theme and celebrates the myriad of artistic responses to rugged mountains, powerful mudslides and volcanoes, blazing forest fires and even the hot sunlight pouring down from billions of miles away. Work by Colorado artist Vance Kirkland will be featured in the third level Chambers and Grant Gallery, showing the artist’s early watercolor scenes from nature, as well as his late paintings that responded to the sublime energy of heat, fire and the great mysteries of space. Curated by Gwen Chanzit.

Mud to Masterpiece: Mexican Colonial Ceramics, located on level four of the North Building, explores the era of global trade and its effect on traditional Mexican earthenware, Chinese porcelain and Mexican majolica. Between 1521 and 1821, the ancient Mexican ceramic art of unglazed, low-fired earthenware was exported to Spain where it became quite fashionable. In return, Spanish artists introduced the potter’s wheel and high-fired hard glazes to Mexico, producing a pottery known as majolica. Trade brought Chinese porcelain to Mexico and its decorative motifs influenced both native earthenware and Mexican majolica. More than 30 pieces of Chinese porcelain, Mexican earthenware and Mexican majolica will be exhibited alongside Mexican colonial paintings that depict the use of ceramics in daily life. Curated by Donna Pierce.

Potters of Precision: The Coors Porcelain Company, located on level two of the North Building, displays porcelain labware produced by the Golden, Colo., company. The Coors Porcelain Company, now known as CoorsTek, creates specialized scientific forms—crucibles, beakers, evaporating dishes—that have remained virtually unchanged since their earliest iteration. Beauty and function exist simultaneously in vessels that serve scientists’ precisely stated needs. Curated by Darrin Alfred.

Marvelous Mud is organized by the Denver Art Museum. Exhibition support is provided by the Adolph Coors Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4 and The Denver Post.

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $3 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. The Cultural Complex Garage is open; enter from 12th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock or check the DAM website for up-to-date parking information. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit http://www.denverartmuseum.org/ or call 720-865-5000.