Pots function in the present. Their integral relationship to the intimate, yet universal, social practice of the shared meal makes them a vital part of daily life. Pots are also documents of the past. They are records of their creation and of the culture that inspired their potential.
Spanning from the early-twentieth century to the present, the tableware in this two-part exhibition—whether produced in an artist’s studio or in a factory—form “conversations” around the currency of key issues in modern American culture. War, economic hardship, and social injustice often brought clarity to the vision of the artists represented here, even if their deliberate desire was to use their objects to celebrate hope, joy, and beauty under difficult circumstances. The vessels also address philosophical changes in education and celebrate technological advancements that have altered the look and feel of ceramics.
Paul Kotula, Assistant Professor, MSU Department of Art, Art History, and Design Guest Curator
Part I of the exhibition runs through June 7, 2015. Part II opens June 12, 2015 and runs through October 4, 2015.
Conversations Around the Table: An American Experience is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Paul Kotula, Assistant Professor, MSU Department of Art, Art History, and Design. Support for this exhibition is provided by MSU Department of Art, Art History, and Design and the Broad MSU’s general exhibitions fund.
Ethan Jackson is a visual artist and designer working in light, photography, interactive media and installation. He studied photography, earning a BA (1992) at Williams College and an MFA (1996) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has taught photography and related media full-time at Johnson State College (VT) and Reed College, among others, and now focuses on creative work, teaching occasionally.
He pursues projects nationally and internationally via public and private commissions, institutions, fellowships, residencies, and grants. He is nearing completion of a commission for a Denver, Colorado public library, and has been finalist for several large public commissions, including Denver’s Union Station. He has been Artist in Residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Ucross, Djerassi, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and Yaddo among others.