Clay's Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968

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L Red , 1963 Stoneware With Lacquer And Acrylic 13.5 X 12 X 10 © Collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Evelyn and Walter Hass, Jr. Fund purchase
Clay's Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968
Curated by: Kirk Delman, Frank Lloyd

1030 Columbia Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711
January 21st, 2012 - April 8th, 2012
Opening: January 21st, 2012 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

san gabriel valley
Wed-Sun 1-5
Scripps College
Pacific Standard Time conceptual modern, ceramic sculpture, ceramics abstract, sculpture
free and open to the public


As a participant in the largest collaborative art exhibit ever undertaken in Southern California, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery of Scripps College will present Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos, 19561968, from January 21–April 8, 2012. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on January 21 at 7 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. There will be light refreshments and live music at the event.

On that same day, at 3 pm, Barbara Haskell, curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, will give a keynote talk at the Garrison Theater, on the Scripps campus. Barbara Haskell was an integral part of the Los Angeles art scene during the sixties, and organized a John Mason solo exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum.

In addition, the gallery will celebrate Clay’s Tectonic Shift by holding Clay Days, on February 18 and 19, from 1 to 5 pm, with music, dance performances, and clay activities, in the Bixby Courtyard, adjacent to the gallery. There will also be a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition.  Artists John Mason, John Baldessari and Billy Al Bengston and panel moderator Hunter Drohojowska-Philp will hold that discussion at the Writers Boot Camp in Santa Monica, on February 22, from 7 to 9 pm. The theme is unexpected connections and intersections in the LA art scene. Please call 909-607-3397 to RSVP for the panel discussion.

In Clay’s Tectonic Shift, the Williamson focuses on three of the most innovative and dynamic artists of the era, whose work forever changed the way ceramics would be regarded. This shift in perspective came about during the era the Getty initiative highlights in “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980,” a celebration of the vivid post-World War II art scene in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles was the site of a “revolution in clay” in which a small group of artists challenged studio pottery’s traditional focus on utilitarian ware to create sculptural forms. The exhibition and catalog, Clay’s Tectonic Shift, focus on three artists—Mason, Price and Voulkos—who, in the late 1950s and 1960s, emerged as sculptors, creating new works in clay that claimed equal footing with art in other media. Although each of these sculptors has been featured in solo shows or larger group exhibitions, this project is the first to feature their work together through key pieces that mark their emerging sculptural styles from 1956 to 1968.

Dr. Mary MacNaughton, director of the Williamson Gallery, described the concept behind the exhibition and catalog: “Mason, Price, and Voulkos changed the conversation in ceramics from craft to art, creating fired-clay sculpture that was unprecedented in ambition and originality. The exhibition presents important works in this development. These three artists were the catalysts for a new ceramic scene and a definitive shift in the way ceramics were understood. From that point until the present day, clay has simply never been viewed in the same way again.”

The exhibition features a catalog, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton, with essays by Michael Duncan, Frank Lloyd, Mary MacNaughton, Suzanne Muchnic, and Karen Tsujimoto. Peter Plagens contributed the foreword to the publication.

With its superb Marer Collection of modern American ceramics, and the longest-running contemporary ceramics exhibition in the nation, the Ceramic Annual, Scripps College is uniquely positioned to focus on the pivotal role that ceramics played after World War II.

For more information, please call (909) 607-3397 or contact