Monday, 21 August 2017

The New British Pottery of the 20th Century

Ewart Uncles © Bristol Culture

The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol, the United Kingdom is showing a retrospective exhibition of 20th century British pottery.

Twentieth Century British Pottery
Fig.1 Hans Coper © Bristol Culture
In the 20th century, a ceramics industry born alongside post-industrial revolution mass production coexisted with a studio system that had a division of labor between artisans who painted and those who threw clay on wheels. In that environment arose a new trend of the individual pottery artist. These artists should be recognized as conveyors of the beauty of the combination of highly practical pottery and artistic expression.

The driving force behind this trend was Bernard Leach. In 1920, Leach returned from Japan with Shoji Hamada and created a style that fused the tradition and style of Eastern and Western, and Japanese and British ceramics. It was simple, solid and powerful pottery.
The New Shape of the New Pottery
The potters Lucie Rie from Austria and Hans Coper  (fig. 1) from Germany fled the battles of World War II and sought asylum in Britain. Both artists were influenced by the sudden spread at the time of abstract sculpture and pursued the spatial representation and figurative aspects of pottery. Their works were thin and light and gave rise to a new balancing of modulation. As mechanization allowed for high quality mass-produced goods and decreased the need for artisans to create daily commodities, the younger generation, led by Rie and Coper, experimented with new forms and expressions of pottery in their artistic quests.

“Radical Clay: Teaching with the greatest potters of the 1960s” Exhibition until June 10, 2018 (irregular closings on Mondays)

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Queens Rd
Bristol BS8 1RL
The United Kingdom
Opening times:
Tue to Sun 10:00-17:00
Dec. 25, 26. Irregular Mondays (see website)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Outsider Painter –– Jean Dubuffet

Fig.1 Jean Dubuffet: Personnage hilare (Portrait de Francis Ponge), 1947,
oil on plaster on cardboard, 60.5 x 45.5 cm, collection Stedelijk Museum
Amsterdam, donation of the artist

A forerunner of the art informel movement and an advocate of art brut (or raw art) who expressed a strong interest in the art of children, the mentally ill and primeval cultures, French painter Jean Dubuffet has had a major impact on the international art world. This summer two art museums in Amsterdam are simultaneously holding exhibitions on Dubuffet, a painter who is crucial in tracing the history of 20th century art.

Impasto Paintings
The Stedelijk Museum is showing Dubuffet’s paintings and lithographs from the 1950s. During this period Dubuffet was attempting to develop new textures in his paintings. He created his own unique textures by applying paints so thickly that they imparted a strong presence in themselves and then mixing in materials not normally used such as dirt, asphalt and bits of glass. In the Portrait of Francis Ponge (fig.1), Dubuffet used plaster.

Fig.2 Monument au fantôme (1969–1971) Fondation Dubuffet, Paris. ©2017
Fondation Dubuffet, Paris / Pictoright, Netherlands. Photo Johannes Schwartz
Graphic Outdoor Sculptures
Dubuffet’s works from the 1960s into the mid-1970s were often filled with patterns that are bordered with strong contour lines. His colors gradually became more organized to have a graphic effect. Around 1970 he made sculptures that looked as if they had jumped out of the patterns in his paintings (fig.2) and large-scale outdoor sculptures. Twelve of these are displayed in the Rijksmuseum Gardens.
The two exhibitions offer an opportunity to discover from various viewpoints the world of Dubuffet’s creations, built from his power of expression and unique sense of humor that broke the conventions of established art.

Jean Dubuffet –– The Deep End Until 2018, Jan. 6 (open daily)
Dubuffet in the Rijksmuseum Gardens Until 2017 Oct. 1 (open daily)

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
1071 DJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Opening times:
Mon to Sun 10:00-18:00 (Friday until 10 pm)

Museumstraat 1
1071 CJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Opening times:
Open daily 9:00-17:00