Cover image for Clay today : contemporary ceramists and their work : a catalogue of the Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Clay today : contemporary ceramists and their work : a catalogue of the Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Publication Information:
Los Angeles, Calif. : The Museum ; San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
239 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NK4008 .L67 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Shows modern ceramics and includes a profile of each artist.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Ceramics have always straddled the boundary between craft and art, but this stately volume places the medium firmly on artistic turf. Lynn, an assistant curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, provides a well-considered analysis of ceramics' path from "vessel to vehicle" in her introduction, which also covers some useful technical terrain. Lynn writes: "Clay can be coaxed into serving the basic function of containment as well as serving as a container for ideas." "Coaxing" takes many forms in the work of the 64 artists profiled. Full-page photographs, 59 in color, and biographies that discuss inspiration and technique, create an overview of the styles of ceramics produced in the last 10 years. Some examples are the classic forms of Laura Andreson, Richard Devore, and Glen Lukens, the sculpture of Christopher Gustin and Susanne Stephenson, and the decorative abstractions of Robert Sperry, as well as the influential works of Peter Voulkos, Ken Ferguson, and Ruth Duckworth. Glossary; bibliography. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Highlighting a portion of the 20th-century ceramics collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this handsome book showcases both the functional and sculptural aspects of the clay medium, from Laura sps ok throughout/pk Andreson's elegantly simple porcelain Yellow Orange Bottle to Robert Arneson's earthenware portrait, Jackson Pollock. Each of 64 ceramists is represented by a photograph of one creation as well as a short discussion of the artist's work. The more provocative pieces in this volume include Akio Takamori's bizarrely metaphoric stoneware Man with Chicken vase; Philip Cornelius's undulating porcelain China Maru Teapot ; Andrea Gill's realistically piscine Fish Soup Tureen ; and Christopher Gustin's anthropomorphic stoneware Pink Vessel . Lynn, an assistant curator at the museum, has written a lively, instructive introduction detailing the evolution of ceramics over the last several decades, and the color plates are suitably expressive. The only problem with this otherwise excellent volume is that in exhibiting just one work by each artist, it gives the reader no sense of the ceramists' development over time. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Collection of contemporary vessel ceramics in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is outstanding in its coverage of the creations of studio potters working in the past several decades. This is a catalog and biographical reference source of the collection with photographs of selected pieces, biographical sketches of the artists, and a summary of contemporary trends in vessel ceramics. The artists are mostly American and European. As a reference, this book supplements the material found in recent works such as Elaine Levin's The History of American Ceramics, 1607 to the Present ( LJ 12/1/88). Recommended for decorative arts collections.-- Constance Ashmore Fairchild, Univ. of Illinois Lib., Urbana-Champaign (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The Smits collection concentrates on the vessel side of contemporary ceramics. The goal of this collection, begun in the 1970s, was to gather works by living artists, that showed their diversity, energy, and intellectual concerns. It is composed principally of works from 1979 to 1988, with a core representative of southern California potters. For background on the interwoven histories of English and American studio potters in the development of the clay movement, work of European and especially English artists are represented, including works that illustrate a technique or "moment" to show a specific genre. The 64 artists featured manifest the function/content disparity, indicate political or social issues, and illustrate well the ever-present conflict between well-crafted pots and those that defy traditional clay limits. Martha D. Lynn, in an excellent introduction, traces the transformation of clay in its many 20th-century variations, echoing the development of clay from craft to art. A very good color photograph accompanies discussion of each artist. The remainder of the works in this collection is covered in small black-and-white photos with descriptive text. A fine study of current attitudes in clay art that attains its objective to serve "as a tool for the emerging ceramic artist and to honor the working ceramists and their art." For college and public libraries. -M. Negoro, University of Connecticut