Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu


Your source for campus news

Garth Clark Presents ‘Ceramics + Art Version 14.0’ May 6

By: Sherry Squires   Published 9:39 am / April 22, 2014

Mod ceramics banner

Wouter Dam, Red Sculpture, 2009, stoneware, thrown and assembled, with diffuser-applied matte glaze. Gift of Anita Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo in honor of Terry Melton on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Boise Art Museum.

Award-winning historian, writer and critic Garth Clark will premiere his fast-paced new lecture, “Ceramics + Art Version 14.0,” in Boise on Tuesday, May 6. The lecture examines the recent explosion of ceramic activity in the fine arts. As art critic Roberta Smith of the New York Times comments, “ceramics is the new photography.”

The lecture begins at 5:45 p.m. and will be preceded by a reception at 4:30 p.m. Both events will be held in the Student Union Hatch A/B Ballroom and are free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Liberal Arts lot beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Boise State’s Ceramics and Visiting Artist and Scholar Programs in the Department of Art partnered with the Boise Art Museum, Kay Hardy, Gregory Kaslo and the Modern Hotel to bring this internationally acclaimed scholar to Boise. Clark’s lecture is being presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Modern and Contemporary Ceramics: 
Anita Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Collection,” which is on view at the Boise Art Museum until March 29, 2015.

Ai Weiwei Colored VasesIn the lecture, Clark, the author of more than 70 books on ceramic art who has been an active part of this transformation of the ceramic Ai Weiwei Colored Vasesmovement since 1972, gives a summary of the events leading to this move from the craft ghetto to the blue chip art galleries. He succinctly examines several directions ceramics is now taking from ceramists who have crossed over to the fine arts and established artists who have now taken on ceramics, and briefly touches on the way architecture and design have played into this movement.

The medium is being used in many ways: raw with unfired clay, ceramics itself and then innovative processes that mimic ceramics in bronze, epoxy and other media. Among the artists he features in this riveting talk are the Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, Theaster Gates, Richard Tuttle, Sterling Ruby, Urs Fischer, George E. Ohr, Ron Nagle, Grayson Perry, Kathy Butterly, Arlene Shecket, Edmund de Waal, John Mason, Julian Stair, Ken Price, Mark Manders, Ricky Swallow and many others.

Theaster Gates’s work, An Epitaph for Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, is meant as intensive commentary about class and race in the United States“Ceramics and Art Version 14.0” tells an exciting narrative of the growth of a medium and the fight for changes in art theory and critical writing that led to this about face for man’s oldest art form, long in coming but now firmly entrenched.

Theaster Gates’s work, An Epitaph for Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, is meant as intensive commentary about class and race in the United StatesClark is the leading writer and commentator on modern and contemporary ceramic art and an increasingly outspoken critic of the crafts movement. He is a 1976 graduate of the Royal College of Art in London. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his scholarship, including:

  • In 1998 he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art, London and a member of the Court at the school’s 100th convocation (his alma mater) alongside Claes Oldenberg and Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery.
  • The College Art Association’s 2005 Mather Award for distinguished achievement in art journalism (previously awarded to Robert Hughes at Time and Roberta Smith at New York Times, amongst others) for his anthology “Shards: Garth Clark on Ceramic Art.”
  • Several lifetime achievements awards (Museum of Art and Design, New York; National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts; Friends of Contemporary Ceramics, Immigration Law Foundation and the National Service to the Arts Award, Anderson Ranch, Aspen).
  • Honorary doctorates (Staffordshire University, England; Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri).
  • Book awards including the “Art Book of the Year” Award from the Art Libraries Society of America, the Mather Award (see above) and a Bronze medal for the “Ceramic Millennium from the Independent Publishers Association. And second (in competition with the Metropolitan and Whitney Museums of Art, New York) for “Dark Light: The Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse.

He is at work on several books and traveling exhibitions. His study of Lucio Fontana’s ceramic oeuvre will be published in fall 2015 by Thames and Hudson, who also will publish his book on Ai Weiwei’s ceramics, “Mind Mud,” this year and in 2016 his anthology “Homage to R. Mutt: Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain and its Aftermath.”

About the Boise State University Department of Art

Proceeds from the Department of Art’s bi-annual Clay and Fire Sale benefit Boise State’s Visiting Ceramic Artist program, which has brought nationally and internationally known artists to deliver lectures and demonstrate their skills for the past 40 years. This semester the program featured Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio sharing their knowledge and experience with students, alumni and the community at large. The Visiting Artist and Scholar Program (VASP), created in 1994, brings nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and scholars to campus each year. Recent artists have included Mark Dion, Trevor Paglan and Harmony Hammond.

About the Boise Art Museum and Modern and Contemporary Ceramics: 
Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Collection

Over several decades Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo have assembled an exceptional art collection, reflecting their interest in modern and contemporary art with a focus on ceramics. As part of their ongoing relationship with Boise Art Museum, they have loaned numerous artworks to various exhibitions and gifted BAM more than 40 important ceramics and other paintings that deepen and enrich the Museum’s collections. In celebration of their impressive collection and significant contributions, BAM is currently presenting a full-scale exhibition highlighting their collection and gifts. Among the notable ceramic artists included are Rudy Autio, Frank Boyden, Helen Frankenthaler, Jun Kaneko, David Smith and Peter Voulkos.

Boise Art Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational and charitable organization. The museum is nationally accredited by the American Association of Museums. Support is provided by BAM members, contributions and grants from individuals, corporations and foundations, as well as grant funding from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Boise Art Museum (BAM) is located downtown in Julia Davis Park. View hours and more at

For the second time this academic year the Boise Art Museum has partnered with Boise State University Art Department’s Visiting Artist and Scholar Program to bring excellent programming to Boise audiences. For further information, contact Caroline Earley at