ARCHITECTURE AND CERAMICS: A Material For All The Ages, curated by Robert Silberman with additions by Blaine Brownell, is currently running through Dec. 17, 2011 in the HGA Gallery, Rapson Hall of the Goldstein Museum of Design.
Architecture and ceramics are fundamental cultural forms. Both share a central concern with formal issues such as scale, the relationship between inside and outside, and the containment of space. And both engage the physical together with the philosophical, encompassing both a building or artifact and the ideas it embodies.
The kinship between architecture and ceramics draws upon the physical materials they use and the formal and conceptual problems they address. Ultimately, however, what binds them together is their shared connection with human use, and human life—and art.
This exhibition uses photographs to illuminate the rich and complex relationship between architecture and ceramics from the ancient world to the present. The subjects depicted go as far back as ancient Babylon to suggest the long history of the relationship and the remarkable range of styles and structures that have been created when architecture and ceramics come together. It features ceramic architecture—actual buildings made of clay and then fired—as well as architectural ceramics, such as ceramic murals and terra cotta ornament.
The exhibition features works by major architects such as Antoni Gaudí, Louis Sullivan, Raymond Hood, Carlo Scarpa, Oscar Niemeyer, and Renzo Piano, as well as by major artists including Robert Arneson, Nino Caruso, Bill Daley, Nina Hole, Charles Simonds, and Betty Woodman.
The long and complex relationship between architecture and ceramics has taken many forms, from the basic use of brick or tile in architecture to the creation of elaborate ceramic sculptures based on architectural structures and motifs.
In ceramic architecture, buildings are actually constructed out of clay and then fired. In architectural ceramics, bricks, tiles, and other ceramic elements are used as building components for structural as well as decorative purposes. In recent years, the rise of the environmental movement and “green” architecture has contributed to a renewed interest in building materials and methods related to clay and ceramics, for instance rammed earth and adobe.
In traditional cultures, potters often turned to architecture as a source of symbolic forms, as in funerary vessels. More recently, many outstanding modern and contemporary ceramists have undertaken murals and other architectural projects. Public art and the rise of site-specific and installation art have stimulated ceramic artists to create ambitious large-scale works. Turning to architecture and the built environment permits artists to address a broad range of contemporary concerns from the personal and the psychological to the social and the ecological.
The Goldstein Museum of Design, part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, supports teaching and research in design through exhibitions, publications, programs, and community partnerships. GMD celebrates diverse cultures through its collections and programs by promoting the appreciation and interpretation of design within social, cultural, aesthetic, and historic contexts.
HGA Gallery is on the lobby of Rapson Hall, 89 Church, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
HGA gallery hours are Mon – Thur 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat – Sun 1 to 5 p.m. Closed all University holidays. Gallery admission is free. Parking is available in the Church Street Ramp at 80 Church Street SE at a rate of $3.00 per hour up to a daily maximum of $12.00. Sundays parking is free (except for special events). The Ramp and Rapson Hall are both handicapped accessible.