1st Edition

Contemporary British Ceramics and the Influence of Sculpture Monuments, Multiples, Destruction and Display

By Laura Gray Copyright 2018
    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book investigates how British contemporary artists who work with clay have managed, in the space of a single generation, to take ceramics from niche-interest craft to the pristine territories of the contemporary art gallery. This development has been accompanied (and perhaps propelled) by the kind of critical discussion usually reserved for the 'higher' discipline of sculpture. Ceramics is now encountering and colliding with sculpture, both formally and intellectually. Laura Gray examines what this means for the old hierarchies between art and craft, the identity of the potter, and the character of a discipline tied to a specific material but wanting to participate in critical discussions that extend far beyond clay.

    Table of Contents


    Chapter One

    Becoming Partners?

    Creative Tension: Defining ceramics

    Sculpture: A category in danger of collapse

    The Art and Craft Divide

    An Overview of the Book

    Chapter Two

    Monumental Matters

    Monuments and the Collective Memory

    Two Approaches: The logical and the abstracted monument

    Ceramics in Civic Space

    Wheel of Fortune: Monumentalizing Stoke-on-Trent

    Making it Big: The monumental style

    Chapter Three

    The Numbers Game: Multi-part compositions

    Do Numbers Matter?

    Plane Thinking: Horizonal groups

    High Rise: Stack, build, repeat

    The Expressive Possibility of Repetition

    Clare Twomey: Master assembler

    Chapter Four

    The Art of Destruction: Ceramics, Sculpture and Iconoclasm

    What is Iconoclasm?

    Iconoclasm and Art

    Vases and Vandalism

    Out of the Ordinary: Destroying domestic ware

    Clay in Common

    Past Imperfect: The art of transformative repair

    Destruction as Cultural Critique

    Please Do Not Touch: Destruction in the vitrine

    Biting the hand that feeds? Iconoclasm as institutional critique

    Chapter Five

    Encounters: Ceramics on Show

    Thinking About Exhibitions

    Clay as an Authentic Material for Sculpture: The Raw and the Cooked

    Ceramics and Minimalism: The New White

    Ceramics Under Threat: A Secret History of Clay

    Post-Studio Practice: Possibilities and Losses

    Ceramics for the Home

    The Separation of Art and the Home

    Home Coming: Contemporary ceramics in domestic space

    Domesticating the White Cube


    Radical Plasticity

    A Single Material


    The Vessel

    The Current of Influence

    The Future


    Laura Gray has a PhD in Art History from Cardiff Metropolitan University and is a freelance curator, writer and researcher specializing in contemporary art and craft, and twentieth-century sculpture.