For Design Miami/ 2020 we are planning a survey featuring recent work from each contemporary artist and designer working with clay from our contemporary program— artists who have both redefined and exemplified the technical, formal, visual, and cultural conventions that surround clay.
We will lean into historical reference with the intent of situating the clay medium as firmly within the historical field of visual culture as paint has been, as well as affirming the historicity of current practices within the medium.
While the work won’t be curated with respect towards chronology, we plan to feature works that exemplify medium-defining moments within the history and practice of ceramics without falling into the modernist trap of medium-specificity. This includes seminal moments and discoveries within the chemistry of glaze, technical achievements in porcelain, choice inclusion of foreign bodies, breaks from utility, and classic subversion.
In spite of its exclusion from the modern art canon, clay’s hair-trigger rise as a medium for art as well as design in the early 21st century makes sense.
It’s visible everywhere from clay’s ineluctable bias towards utility and tactility to its anticipation of and escape from the rabbit-hole of self-reflexivity that developed within modern mediums.
Clay as a representational media prefigured the inherent contradictions, deceptions, and triumphs within post-modern art and overcame them.