Museum of Arts and Design

madThere are several worthy and diverse exhibitions to see right now at MAD —

main-image-colorCROCHET CORAL REEF: Toxic Seas by Margaret and Christine Wertheim displays an extraordinary array of Coral Reefs – both live with color and creature habitat and the horrid bleached white that is rapidly overtaking reefs everywhere in the world. These are eye-popping renditions of the “real thing” and inasmuch as they are crocheted (stitch by stitch) they make an even more intense impression. The message is simple, and we read about it every day… the oceans are changing and not for the better. One huge basket of ocean detritus hangs in one corner of the gallery to remind us of what is constantly found floating everywhere these days. The show is both beautiful and haunting and it is definitely meant to teach all of us a lesson.
chris-antemann-in-collaboration-with-meissen-trifle-detail-courtesy-of-meissen-750x400FORBIDDEN FRUIT: Chris Antemann has a twinkle in her eye as she greets you at her exhibition of ceramic vignettes inspired by the 18th Century. These sculptures are downright naughty and great fun because of it. There are banquets and follies, porcelain figurines both male and female in a definitely seductive mode, an interpretation of Kandler’s 18th Century “Love Temple” and many other salacious views of partially dressed human misbehavior. We are particularly fortunate that the renowned MEISSEN factory in German saw potential in Chris’s work and invited her in 2011 to participate in their art studio program. These works remind me of a similar 12 foot painting I once saw in a friend’s dining room called “The King Drinks” which had the same lascivious aura.

 

renwick-voulkosPETER VOULKOS: “The Breakthrough Years” presents a sculptor who literally broke the rules. If you enjoy the history of Jackson Pollock’s work, you will totally understand Voulkos. Highly trained as a ceramic sculptor, Voulkos started out with perfectly made pots of various sizes until one day he smashed one up before firing it. This led to a career of charismatic “crash and burn” pottery which – after having been a student and teacher of functional pottery – brought him a new freedom and leadership in what became “action painting” in clay.

His use of factory-size kilns, new recipes for clay and the will to “destroy” while creating has brought him infinite respect in the contemporary art world that understands this modus operandi in search of true artistry.

 

kalmen-main-image-smallerLAUREN KALMAN: “Treasures in the Jewelry Gallery” The Jewelry Gallery is awash in gold right now as over 2000 Kudzu leaves shine as they reveal over 60 gold pieces of jewelry from the mid-century to today. MAD’S permanent jewelry collection has never looked so exciting or expansive, with all the rich decorative metal colors circling and framing it. The effect is breathtaking at first, then one begins to zero in on each golden jewel partially “hidden” among the leaves. It is a “treasure hunt” for sure and a satisfying one at that.

 

Barbara Tober

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