Yamaguchi Soul Manufacturing Corporation and a Potter Named Dave: The Need for Blackness in Contemporary Ceramics
In a 46-minute performance talk, Artist, Theaster Gates will present a new work that traces the creation of several artistic narratives that point to the rich and dynamic possibility of clay within his larger practice. The Need for Blackness suggests that there is a need for a more critical examination of the histories of black legacies within Ceramic traditions. Using collections of images that he has gathered from the Museum of the Art Institute, the University of Chicago and found images of clay, The Need For Blackness, will explore the complexities of clay and race within the contemporary art canon, craft traditions and the so called Minor Arts. Gates will be accompanied by Yaw Agyeman, principle vocalist for Gates’ performance ensemble, Black Monks of Mississippi. Thanks to the Chipstone Foundation for their generous support of this keynote presentation.
YO GUYS IT’S ONLINE
Watch this, artists, watch it. Whether you work in clay or not.
One of my favorite Celtic vessels is this, the Hochdorf Cauldron.
It was found in a Celtic chieftain’s burial mound near Hochdorf, Germany, but the cauldron itself was originally made in Greece circa 500-0 BC.
Reasons I love this piece: for starters, it’s a tangible indication of the extensive trade that was occurring in Europe at the time. The mainland Celts weren’t the indiscriminate raiders they are often made out to be, but were instead a widespread group of individual populations that mostly farmed the land and worked metal. They were looked down upon by the Romans, mostly because they lacked the rigid social structure and religion their neighbors to the south relished. At the same time, the Celts interacted freely and often with their neighbors, including (and perhaps especially) the Romans.
Also, there’s the wonderful detail of the lions. The original vessel was created with three lions lying across its shoulder, but one of the lions was replaced at some point by one made by a Celtic metalworker. It is lying in the same pose as the others, but the style is radically different, giving an interesting comparison between the art of the Greeks and Celts at the time.
Plus, I think the work is pretty impressive because it was unlikely the central Germanic metalworker who made the replacement had ever actually seen a lion. This was a person who saw the originals and knew the original artist was more familiar with the subject but still stuck to his guns and worked in his own style. There’s a quiet sort of pride there that I admire.