April 1, 2010

A Parochial Mess? The End of Somethng??

Paul Greenhalgh, interviewed by Walter Ostrom in the June 2005 issue of Studio Potter1, offered this withering critique of NCECA:
The North American scene is huge, and so we will always be able to find great artists. Taken as a giant single thing, however, it is in a bit of a parochial mess. American ceramics has forgotten about the rest of the world. The endless miles of post-funk, post-modern, post-George Segal, post-Zen, post-sincere, over-ornate, neo-neo-Rococo, under-intellectualized (and for the most part under-skilled) rubbish is truly depressing. It all feels the the end of something rather than the beginning of something.And rarely does one ever hear interesting discussion of what is happening in Europe, in China, in Brazil or in India. It has become and assumption that there is nowhere outside the States...

Greenhalgh goes on from there and believe me it doesn't get any prettier.

Today, the panels and lectures start. I did notice a panel on whether British ceramics education can survive--that seems at the top of everyone's list of international concerns--and now that there are so many universities with partner programs in China (since they own the US anyway), there are a few presentations on China. I will hope that Greenhalgh's take proves uncharitable and that this event is evolving toward a broader and more rigorous program.

More to come.

1. (The Studio Potter, vol.33 #2, June 2005)

Mark Shapiro is a potter, workshop leader, and occasional curator from Worthington, MA. Mark is reporting from the 2010 NCECA conference in Philadelphia this week and will join the Sawdust & Dirt bloggers thereafter. Mark Shapiro has made wood fired functional pots in Western Massachusetts for the past twenty years. He is a frequent workshop leader and panelist. Mark's pots can be seen in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Racine Art Museum, the Mint Museum (NC), the International Muesun of Ceramics at Alfred,NY, and the Currier Museum (NH).