Contemporary British Ceramics and the Influence of Sculpture : Monuments, Multiples, Destruction and Display book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781032476421
Published January 21, 2023 by Routledge
146 Pages

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Book Description

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

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

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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.