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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Avian Clay: Kent Tool + Dana Gardner
October 12 – December 30, 2019

Reception: October 12, 6 – 9 PM

Dana Gardner, a self-taught painter, has illustrated nearly 50 different books and field guides on the birds of Costa Rica, Singapore, Wallacea, and Belize. Gardner met San Francisco-based artist and Kent Tool in 2001 and they quickly became “birding buddies.” Artistic collaboration quickly followed, with Gardner illustrating Tool’s ceramic platters, plates, and vases with images of roadrunners, cardinals, and woodpeckers.
Works by the artists may be purchased online or in person at the Museum Store. For more information, contact the AMOCA Museum Store by email (museumstore@amoca.org) or at (909) 865-3146.

Julie Green: Flown Blue
September 14, 2019 – February 23, 2020

Reception: September 14, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm • Talk by Julie Green @ 7:00 p.m. • Artist in Attendance

Bringing together over 830 plates, platters, and dishware, the exhibition explores the artist’s longstanding engagement with secondhand porcelain and stoneware dishes, drawing from both the large-scale political works for which Green is acclaimed, and more recent works interrogating societal gender biases and personal histories.

“Green’s mastery of art as social documentary affords a dramatic range of expression for an artist with a piercing cultural commentary. The artist’s provocative and pioneering works do not rest on well-deserved laurels but instead continue to push the bounds of the art world,” said Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director of the Museum. “This important exhibition invites viewers to marvel at the revealed scale of Green’s artistic ambition, and to formulate important questions about the foundations of our society.”

Green’s artistic practice should be considered alongside by contemporary masters Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist and activist, and Theaster Gates, a fellow American social practice installation artist and professor at the University of Chicago. Both Ai’s works, especially commentary-rich pieces like “Hansel and Gretel” (2017), and Gates’ works, especially “Plate Convergence” (2007), use social documentary as a form of protest and artistic expression.

Highlights of the exhibition will include a large-scale installation of “The Last Supper” in its entirety (over 800 plates). In this acclaimed body of ongoing work, Green documents the last meal requests of death row inmates in cobalt blue on white, ceramic kiln-fired plates. Julie Green: Flown Blue will present this work in conversation with six works from Green’s most recent body of work, “First Meal,” which documents the first meals eaten by exonerated prisoners. “Naively, I thought ‘First Meal’ would be more uplifting to paint that ‘The Last Supper,’” Green tells NPR. “Of course the meal is celebratory, but it is nothing compared to all those lost years. And how do you depict absence, not having an orange for seven years? How do you illustrate holding an orange for 40 minutes before savoring every bite?”

Julie Green
A recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors and the Hallie Ford Foundation Fellowship, Green’s egg tempera is included in A World of Art published by Prentice Hall. Green has had thirty two exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, and been featured in The New York Times, a Whole Foods mini-documentary, National Public Radio, Ceramics Monthly and Gastronomica.

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.

AMOCA Collects!
Opens July 2019

AMOCA Collects! is a rotating exhibition from our permanent collection. The American Museum of Ceramic Art is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics. AMOCA houses over 7,000 objects, including Villeroy and Boch’s Mettlach ceramics, Southern California production pottery, and mid-century and contemporary studio ceramics and sculpture

Juan Quezada: The Legend of Mata Ortiz
June 8 – December 30, 2019

Reception: June 8, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm • Talk by Michael Wisner @ 7:00 p.m. • Artist in Attendance

An encyclopedic retrospective of over seventy pieces, including rare early works. Enjoy this exclusive opportunity to meet Mexico-based artist Juan Quezada and hear from Colorado-based artist Michael Wisner (Michael Wisner Art).

Juan Quezada
In 1999, Mexico awarded Juan Quezada its highest honor for a living artist – the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes – a capstone accomplishment for the self-taught an artist. Quezada’s work is inspired by the shards of Paquimé (or Casas Grandes) pottery that he found in the hills near his rural home. Remarkably, this inspiration led him to spend fifteen years empirically rediscovering and reinventing the entire ceramic production process based on his analyses of these shards. Juan Quezada: The Legend of Mata Ortiz brings together 70 works to chart Quezada’s meteoric artistic evolution, from imitative pueblo-styled functional bowls and effigies in the 1970s, to recent, painterly vessels juxtaposing swooping, curvilinear designs with tight, geometrical patterns – his unique contemporary reinterpretation of historical Paquimé iconography.

Michael Wisner
Inspired by ancient Anasazi and Mimbres potsherds, Michael Wisner began making southwestern pottery nearly 20 years ago. He digs local clays from the ground near his studio in Woody Creek, Colorado. Over the past 16 years Wisner has studied extensively with Potters of the American Indian Pueblos and Mata Ortiz, Mexico. In 1989 he began an apprenticeship with Juan Quezada. His work is now uniquely his own, but the influence of this master ceramist remains deeply within his work

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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