September 10 – October 30, 2021
Clay Pop documents the reinvention of ceramic sculpture by a new generation of artists. A medium that has often been characterized as more craft than art is now an exciting platform for formal and conceptual innovation. A medium that traditionally diverged from engagement with popular culture is now adding a new dimension to Pop Art.
Paralleling current concerns in painting, many of the artists featured in Clay Pop are also exploring issues of gender, race and identity, using clay in new ways to engage with social issues. Artists are using the medium to create a personal narrative. Clay is being pushed beyond the confines of craft and design.
“Artists are taking a traditional medium and turning it on its head,” says the exhibition curator Alia Williams. An earlier generation of ceramic artists is referenced, but the range of influences encompasses vernacular commercial imagery and artistic sources from African American assemblage to Walt Disney. Much of the new work is exuberant and figurative, expanding on how the medium of clay has been traditionally used. Glazes are especially colorful. Funk art from 1970s Northern California is a source, as is Claes Oldenburg’s store. Some of the artists also draw on artistic influences from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Many of the 37 artists in the exhibition know each other, forming a community around this new direction in ceramic sculpture. The community is especially dynamic in Los Angeles, where several of the artists share kilns and studios.
Clay Pop is the first large exhibition to document this new artistic direction.
Curator Alia Williams is the Managing Director of Jeffrey Deitch, New York.
Exhibition design is by Charlap Hyman and Herrero.
The artists participating in Clay Pop are:
Diana Yesenia Alvarado
Chen Nien Ying
Woody De Othello
Kahlil Robert Irving
Devin B. Johnson
Magdalena Suarez Frimkess