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Does Any One Else Miss This Nutcase?

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Yeah but come on, Peter Voulkos was/is a really big deal in our medium and art in general.


I guess I just respect the hell out of that and there is no way to separate that from his work for me, so yeah I might even buy something he made that I don't particularly like if given the opportunity and I had the dough.

You are not alone Stephen, quite a few posts stressed Voulkos's contribution to ceramics, and how that has to be factored in. I keep getting told that I should be more open and try harder to see the meaning. Seems like a whole lot of work to appreciate a piece of art.

Seems like if you say you don't like some of  Peter Voulkos' work it is kind of like saying that the pope is not infallible in front of the synod of bishops. :)


Sorry, I just can't see assigning automatic artistic merit based on anything other than how the individual piece visually and emotionally grabs me.  I know that no piece stands alone, it is all part of a body of work but if the same piece by an unknown gets a YUCH! but gets a WOW! if it is done by someone well known, then I think that something else is going on.


So...how about it... How much would you spend to buy those pieces, if you didn't know they were made by Voulkos?



Re-read your own posts. You're not stopping at stating that you dislike all Voulkos works. You're condemning others that do appreciate the works. You're also suggesting that in order to appreciate an artist's ouvre, one must not only approve of, but enjoy *every single piece* ever produced.


And honestly, if the American gallery system wasn't as systematically (FUCKED) (excuse my french) as it is, I would suggest that craft fair artists should take their work elsewhere. But both of those arguments are fuel enough for years of discussion, and aren't fully appropriate for this forum in my opinion, as those views are likely offensive to others. Also, the topic is thoroughly depressing and unpleasant to discuss.


And I'm only dismissive because of the offense I take to the above-quoted display of logic. I find humor in the proposition at hand. As Tyler mentions, craft fairs have nothing to do with the work or artists we're discussing. Maybe researching the American studio/workshop movement may help?


Going back to Soldner, what were his more important messages at workshops? Be comfortable as a maker? Be honest? Just things to think about. I'm not suggesting that one must know the whole story to appreciate any of the work. I am however, suggesting that devaluing the work beyond aesthetic merit oversteps the bounds of your prerogative. It's ludicrous.


And furthermore, what are the acceptable outcomes of Art for you? Would you like to be spoon-fed drivel and pleasantries? Voulkos has nothing to do with that. What's at stake in taking down heros of American ceramics? If he was still alive today, would you challenge the now 90 year-old Voulkos to a throwing contest? I can admit that when I started as a studio assistant, I struggled with that last one. I went through a rough time of saying, I can make some Artist's work better than they can (that was my job anyway), and compared my youthful, athletic body to that of some world-renowned artists with health problems and otherwise. I couldn't make work, I couldn't work for them either during that time, and it took a lot to get back in the studio. Ego is a funny thing, and the only thing it's good for in the studio is motivation.


In any case, carry on disliking the work aesthetically, but don't go as far as to consider that your visual and emotional connection to any work is the ultimate measure of its significance. What you describe as "automatic artistic merit," is value assigned to the work of a giant, the same way Elvis memorabilia drives demand. Do you have similar qualms with Monet or any of them?

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Hi Bob, I certainly was not offended at all. I think Colby just got a bit emotional is all.


I do think Colby makes some strong arguments that once you move away from mimicking forms or expressions loosely or with exactness then you hit a place in art where stirred emotions or intent starts to weigh in.


Almost anyone can take up a potters wheel, pick up a paint brush or start carving sculptures and with enough instruction and enough hours practice become pretty damned accomplished. I get that the ones that stick with traditional forms and work within the confines of a familiar range (a vase looks like a vase) are the ones you like and assign value to BUT that work is just part of what's out there and those that are not making traditional vases, painting realistic landscapes or carving lifelike bust are creating really meaningful work that is really worth the 'work' you mentioned earlier to try and understand.


I do hope you come across something at some point that drives the point home because I think it will be an Aha moment for you, it was for me.


I'm going to leave it at that as well and I hope I also did not offend anyone.

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  • 5 months later...

I didn't see anyone mention that before Volkous, Soldner, Mason, et al, Ceramics was never considered Art.


It was craft, maybe Elevated Craft, but not Art.


The use of clay to make Abstract Expressionist art conveyed the nature of the material by the actions on it with large, bold statements that caught the attention of the Art World and, ultimately, opened our whole field up to consideration as Fine Art.


This is what we owe to those pioneers.

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