American Museum of Ceramic Art
Pomona, CA
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American Museum of Ceramic Art
399 North Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91767
(909) 865-3146

Email: frontdesk@amoca.org


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2020 SoCal High School Ceramics

Making In Between: Contemporary Chinese American Ceramics

2020 SoCal High School Ceramics
May 2 – 31, 2020

Opening reception: May 2 @ 12 Noon

Virtual Exhibition will be online

See the ceramic tradition through the eyes of young artists! A juried show featuring 74 juried finalists from 27 SoCal schools.

Awards to be announced on May 2nd @ 12 Noon; Visitor’s Choice awards to be announced via press release at the close of the exhibition.

The American Museum of Ceramic Art champions the art, history, and creation of ceramics through exhibitions, collections, outreach, and studio programming. The 2020 SoCal High School Ceramic Exhibition provides encouragement and exhibition opportunities for emerging artists. This program strives to inspire and recognize young artists to achieve excellence in their own creative endeavors.

This program generously funded provided, in part, through grants from the Ruth and Joseph C. Reed Foundation for the Arts and the DEW Foundation.

Making In Between: Contemporary Chinese American Ceramics
March 14–August 23, 2020

Making In Between: Contemporary Chinese American Ceramics examines the works of six first- and second-generation Chinese American ceramic artists from the United States and provides a basis for dialog and inter-cultural exchange during an era fraught with international tensions.

Southern California has significant Chinese-American heritage and is home to the third-largest community in the United States of Americans with Chinese ancestry. Through cultural, geographic, and historic lenses, the exhibition invites visitors to explore and engage with the contemporary Chinese American artistic experience.

Jennifer Ling Datchuk (b. 1980) is a child of a Chinese immigrant and grandchild of Russian and Irish immigrants. Her work transports the familiar to the strange, imbuing common domestic items with symbolic questions of identity, place, and belonging.

“My work has always dealt with identity, with the sense of being in-between, an imposter, neither fully Chinese nor Caucasian. I have learned to live with the constant question about my appearance: “What are you?“

Sin-ying Ho (b. 1963) was raised in Hong Kong before immigrating to Canada in 1992 and New York thereafter. Ho overlays figurative decals created digitally in New York on traditional ceramic forms she produces in China. Her works are amalgams of ceramic pieces fired and glazed separately, brought together as a melting pot of artistic and personal identity.

“Migration, transplanting, and growing up in a colony like Hong Kong generates a sense of displacement and involves a constant negotiation of my identity…. As the world moves towards greater globalization, many nationalities and cultures will merge together and evolve into an unknown global culture. I reference my own experience being Chinese and living in North America with the cultural collisions I have endured. This cross-cultural experience speaks to a universal phenomenon.”

Beth Lo (b. 1949) was born in Lafayette, Indiana, shortly after her parents emigrated from China. Water, a central element in many of her works, is represented with a blue/green celadon glaze, conjuring the frustration, alienation, and disaster Lo experienced during her childhood.

The birth of her son in 1987 marked a turning point in her work, which now uses calligraphy and traditional Chinese form and iconography to examine the intersection of heritage, identity, motherhood, and parenting.

Cathy Lu (b. 1984) grew up as part of the only Chinese American family in a Miami, Florida, neighborhood that was home to Cuban exiles and immigrants. “I’m uncomfortable with the phrase Asian American because I’ve always felt that having been born here, I’m just ‘American,’ but I understand that I will never be seen that way. I’ve always been surprised about how people react by the way I look – assuming that I can or can’t speak Chinese or English. If I’m in Noe Valley washing my clothes at the laundromat, people will sometimes assume I work there.”

Lu’s work explores the idea that food can be a language of home, and it deconstructs the way food (fruits, sauces, spices, and more) creates a sense of identity and belonging. By manipulating traditional imagery of Chinese art and presentation, she unpacks what it means to be trans-cultural, and how ideas of cultural “authenticity” and “tradition” interface with contemporary trans-cultural experiences.

Stephanie H. Shih (b. 1986) was raised with one younger brother by Chinese-Taiwanese parents whose love of home cooking laid the foundation of her fascination with food. “Food carries meaning for everyone but especially people who have only known life in the diaspora, whose identities are tied to a figurative homeland that exists only in the memories and experiences that this set of people [has] had.“

Her work went viral in July of 2018 when she posted photos of a new body of work – rows and rows of identical ceramic dumplings, folded and arranged by hand. Responses came from all corners of the country and from diverse communities, all united by deep nostalgia. “I think it feels important to me to create space because we don’t have a shared physical place. We have to create dialogue and that becomes the space that we have…this is ours and it’s just for us.”

Wanxin Zhang (b. 1961) was born and educated in China and graduated from the prestigious LuXun Academy of Fine Art in sculpture in 1985. A successful state artist, Zhang discovered the work of Robert Rauschenberg at the Beijing Art Museum in 1985, “before [which], [he] had no idea what was possible to express in modern art, or what it could look like.”

In 1992, he relocated to San Francisco with his wife and young child knowing little English and driven by his desire to pursue an artistic career. He immersed himself in the regional art scene, influenced by Manuel Neri, Robert Arneson, and Viola Frey. “As a Chinese person, clay is in my blood. Clay and ceramics have been an integral part of Chinese culture for millennia…At the same time, having distance from China is what freed me to utilize these materials to fit my personal narrative.”

New Acquisitions from Julianne and David Armstrong
Through June 21, 2020

High Resolution Photos • Reception
Press Release (pdf) • Plain-text Press Release (docx)
On view: January 18–June 21, 2020
Reception: February 8, 6–9 PM • Artist Talk by Richard Shaw @ 7 PM

As an undergraduate at Pomona College in Claremont, California, in 1959, David Armstrong enrolled in a required art course taught by Scripps College Professor Paul Soldner. Soldner’s renowned charisma charmed Armstrong and awakened a passion for the ceramic arts, so much so that Armstrong returned in the 1990s to pursue an MFA degree at The Claremont Graduate School. His passion for ceramic art matured into a love of collecting, and, with his spouse Julianne, he began assembling a comprehensive and enviable collection of post-World War II ceramic art from North America.

New Acquisitions from Julianne and David Armstrong, celebrating a donation of extraordinary works to the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) from the Armstrongs, includes rarely-seen works by some of North America’s leading ceramic artists, among them notable groupings of work from faculty and graduates from Alfred University (Andrea Gill, Ted Randall, Victor Babu, Andrea Gill, Don Reitz, Richard Shaw, Ted Randall, Josh DeWeese, Karen Karnes, Peter Pincus, and more) and from Otis College of Art and Design (including Peter Voulkos, Harrison McIntosh, Porntip Sangvanich, Ralph Bacerra, John Mason, and Ricky Maldonado).

Works from Maldonado, Bacerra, and Rose Cabat exemplify the flashy, colorful influences of Los Angeles. Trompe-l’œil work from Shaw, Sylvia Hyman, David Furman and Victor Spinski are definitive examples of the North American take on this century’s old technique. Sculptural and figurative works from a host of other luminaries, including Voulkos, Richard Devore, Peter Callas, Patti Warashina, Joe Bova, Betty Davenport-Ford, Margaret Keelan, Gina Lawson-Egan, Janis Mars-Wunderlich, Glenn Takai, MacIntosh, Jens Morrison, and Rimas VisGirda round out this remarkable selection. Taken together, it is an impressive representation of ceramic artistic production in North America over the last century, and the Armstrongs’ preserving and sharing these artistic traditions with the public.

Education programs are made possible in part by the Ruth and Joseph C. Reed Foundation for the Arts.

Lecture by Richard Shaw
Born in Hollywood in 1941, Richard Shaw spent the 1960s studying at the San Francisco Art Institute and University of California, Davis, where he received his BFA and MFA degrees. Known for his hyper-realistic sculpture work, Shaw’s early career was influenced by time spent with Robert Arneson, Jim Melchert, Peter Voulkos John Mason, Robert Hudson, and Ron Nagle. A professor at the University of California, Berkeley since 1987, Shaw is recognized as a leading force in the development and direction of ceramics in the last half of the twentieth century.

Richard Shaw was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Crafts Grant in 1970 and the National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1974. His works can be found in the collections of highly prestigious national and international museums including the Smithsonian, Whitney Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.

Joanne Hayakawa: A Wing and a Prayer II
\January 11, 2020 – April 19, 2020

Reception: January 11, 6 – 9 PM • Artist Talk @ 7 PM

(Pomona, Calif.—December 23, 2019) Since 2016, the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) has partnered with the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College to produce exhibitions of works by guest curators of the Scripps College Ceramic Annual. In January of 2020, San Diego State University Professor Emerita Joanne Hayakawa will curate “Duality and Context” at the Ceramic Annual. Opening a week earlier at AMOCA, Hayakawa’s exhibition, “A Wing and A Prayer II,” premieres the newest work in her “A Wing and a Prayer” series. In addition to this large sculptural work, created especially for this exhibition, a series of Hayakawa’s two-dimensional works will also be exhibited. The opening reception, including a talk by the artist, will take place at AMOCA on January 11, 2020 from 6-9 PM.

Hayakawa explores diametrically opposed pairs in her work. For example, vulnerability is paired with strength, extraordinary is presented alongside mundane, and self-indulgent technology is contrasted with the human condition. Body parts -– hearts, brains, spines -– are juxtaposed with their botanical counterparts — roses and their thorn encrusted branches and cacti and their rows of spines. Hayakawa’s work uses these pairs to disrupt the viewer’s frame of reference, and to subvert cultural contexts. In this weakened state, the viewer’s own subjectivity becomes accessible, and Hayakawa uses this access to push the viewer toward empathy.

Joanne Hayakawa holds a BFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA from the University of Washington. Her work can be found at Scripps College, Claremont, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University.
Visitors to the Scripps Ceramic Annual can enjoy 2-for-1 admission at AMOCA for the duration of the exhibitions.
The “76th Scripps Ceramic Annual” at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is the longest running ceramic annual in the country. This year, in the exhibition titled “Duality and Context,” Hayakawa gathers artists whose work engages with and offers a variety of perspectives on the environment through the lens of duality. “Duality,” she writes, “provides a natural tension with questions, definitions and position(s). We can understand duality to mean opposites, …diversity that is generalized or confrontational or not, parallel paths that have not recognized each other…. I have chosen artists with diverse approaches to literal and figurative environmental perspectives who seem to be wending their way forward through their choices. Ultimately, they are defining or redefining their vision through exploration of two (or more) sides.”
The “76th Scripps Ceramic Annual” keynote lecture will be given by Garth Johnson, curator of ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, on January 25 at 4 PM in the Scripps College Humanities Auditorium. The exhibition opening reception, with live music and light refreshments, will follow at the Gallery from 7-9 PM.

The “76th Scripps Ceramic Annual” will include works by: Wesley Anderegg, Richard Burkett, Rebecca Hutchinson, Jeff Irwin, Kate MacDowell, Crystal Morey, James Tisdale, Ted Vogel, Patti Warashina, Stan Welsh, and Mary Cale A. Wilson. More information about the “Duality and Context” may be found on the Scripps College website.

Education programs are made possible in part by the Ruth and Joseph C. Reed Foundation for the Arts.

Chinese Bird Banquet
August 10, 2019 – June 30, 2020

Reception: August 10, 6 – 9 PM

A curated selection of the 900+ Chinese bird feeders in the Julianne and David Armstrong collection. Produced in the late 1800’s through the early 1970’s, these works exhibit a remarkable range of ceramic styles, materials, and techniques. This unique collection comprehensively represents the important aspects of traditional Chinese ceramics – in miniature form.

In Chinese culture, birds are imbued with a variety of symbolic meanings. For example, ducks mate for life and are symbolic of marital fidelity, swallows signify good luck for a household as master nest builders, and cranes are fabled to live more than 600 years and symbolize longevity or wisdom.

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE), inherited wealth passed from generation to generation meant the noble class did not need to work. This privileged class adopted bird keeping as a way to pass time. Individuals brought their birds with them to tea houses, and the intricacies of feeding and raising birds were common topics of conversations. Many of these bird owners had beautifully handcrafted bamboo cages with highly decorated bird feeders to reflecting their wealth and societal position.

In 1911, with the onset of the Chinese revolution, many noble families were stripped of their titles and forced into common labor. Despite the decline of the noble class, the rest of the population developed a strong interest in bird keeping. Today, antique bird feeders are collected by both ceramic and bird enthusiasts around the world.

The Artists of Mettlach
Through July 2020

Villeroy and Boch was founded in 1836 when a French ceramics company founded by Jean François Boch (1782-1858) merged with a German ceramics company started by Nicolas Villeroy (1759-1843). The merging of the two companies reduced competition between them and allowed them to increase production while lowering overall cost, thus growing the size of their combined markets. The merger also leveraged their competitive strength against popular ceramic imports from England and Asia.

During this time, Europe was also becoming increasingly industrial, and advancements in technology made the manufacturing of goods more efficient and less expensive. Widespread industrialization brought prosperity to Europe, helping to establish a growing middle class interested in everyday consumer goods.

Villeroy and Boch’s Mettlach factory, located in Mettlach, Germany near the French border, was one of the company’s most productive factories. The Mettlach factory was housed in a restored former Benedictine Abbey dating back to the 10th century. Between 1880 and 1910, the Mettlach factory reached the pinnacle of its production, and this period is often considered the Golden Age of Mettlach.

Although Mettlach wares were mass-produced in a factory setting, internal company innovations created exciting new opportunities to combine art and industry. In addition to the highly skilled factory workers the company employed to aid in production (1,250 at its peak), Villeroy and Boch also employed a large number of artists and designers to create the artwork on the ceramic wares. Though many pieces are unsigned, some Mettlach pieces carry the mark of their artist. Mettlach designs were either created by resident artists or guest artists commissioned specifically for the Mettlach factory. This exhibition features some of the artists and designers that contributed to the prestigious Villeroy and Boch brand.

Mettlach employed artists from a variety of artistic and vocational backgrounds, working in a wide range of artistic styles. The artists of Mettlach typically worked in residence at the factory for periods of several months or years. In some instances, entire careers were devoted to working for Villeroy and Boch. Many of Mettlach’s artists worked in their own unique styles, producing some of Villeroy & Boch’s most memorable designs.

Unfortunately, recorded information about lesser known artists is scarce because of a fire at the Mettlach factory in 1921, which destroyed most records about artists and production techniques. Despite this lack of written history, Mettlach experts have been able to identify particular artists from posters, postcards, and from existing Mettlach pieces. Some artists clearly signed their work with their full name, while others incorporated a symbol or their initials within the artwork.

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