In between detailed recommendations for various anti-psychotics, a favorite professor once told me about a legendary ceramic bowl that had been made in a single motion. Basically, someone held a lump of clay in one hand and then punched it. That’s it. I’ve thought about that bowl a lot in the intervening years — the effort and refusal. I find myself being drawn repeatedly to echoes of that idea, including this work by Los Angeles-based potter Andrew Kazakes, who makes the same deceptively simple forms over and over again. They’re inspired by “waves crashing against the shore,” using glazes that respond to the vagaries of heat.

The I’m Revolting Ceramics Shop

Ceramicists know how to deal with heartbreak — these are artists, after all, who make something they love and then willingly throw it into a fire. So while the I’m Revolting Ceramics Shop that I’ve curated for Sight Unseen OFFSITE — opening at noon this Friday at 200 Lafayette in Soho — is in many ways a survey of talented young people working today in clay, it’s also a small tribute to the beauty in unpredictability and letting go. Unlike painting or weaving or most other mediums, potters don’t get to see the thing complete in front of them as they work. They shape a piece of clay with their hands and then give it over to the heat of the universe. And though this sounds totally cheeseball, that might be why I love it so much — that every piece carries in it some accident. The range of work in the I’m Revolting Ceramics Shop is a reminder of this possibility in imperfection: our perpetual struggle to take the same stuff there has ever been – mud and fire, failure and ambition – and create of it something distinctly personal.

In this slideshow, I’ll be previewing a few of the amazing pieces that will be on sale in the I’m Revolting Ceramics Shop from May 16-20 as part of Sight Unseen OFFSITE. The full bonkers list of artists is: Julianne Ahn of Object and Totem, Dana Bechert, Laura Carlin, Jonathan Cross, Chie Fujii of ChieCo, Sally Hackett, Julia Haft-Candell, Lindsey Hampton, Jessica Hans, Natalie Herrera of High Gloss, Cody Hoyt, Juliana Hung of Jujumade, Jennie Jieun Lee, Matthias Kaiser, Andrew Kazakes, Katy Krantz, Helen Levi, Ian McDonald, Michael McDowell, Keiko Narahashi, Joanna Pike, Joseph Pintz, Takayuki Watanabe, Joey Watson, and Bari Ziperstein of BZIPPY & CO. If you’re in the area, please come and see them in person — and bring your wallet!