A friend of mine and I have often joked about how Goodnight Moon, the classic 1947 children's book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, would make an excellent moodboard for a gloriously maximalist interior design project: The incredible color blocking! The striped drapes! The scalloped picture frames! The animal hide rug! And while we still would love to see those benchmarks turned into something truly livable, a new exhibition has done the next best thing.
As a self-taught ceramicist, not knowing the "right" way to do things has led Somers down some experimental paths. Clay has become a medium for her to interrogate concepts beneath its fragile surface. As a contemporary ceramic sculptor, she describes her pieces as a satirical and questioning take on domestic objects. “We cannot treat domestic objects as inert beings; they have place and purpose and motivation,” she says. “Clay has a long history of being used for functional, domestic objects that are laden with political and social constructs."
We first stumbled across Bennet Schlesinger's lamps on the Instagram of a friend. Perched atop two handmade ceramic bases were shades made from translucent paper sheets, stretched across a cambered latticework of bamboo strips. They were glowing and fresh and new, and we immediately fell in love. Now, the Southern California–based Schlesinger, who designs under the name Lightsong Exchange, is co-headlining an exhibition of his work at the new Los Angeles gallery Stanley’s.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a funny lamp with cartoon hands, a new space for emerging design in Paris, and a collection of furniture by SU favorite EJR Barnes for a collector in London (above).
Eugenia Díaz Peon, a Mexican ceramicist who prefers to go by the nickname of Uxi, discovered her calling not very long ago. As co-founder of the Yucatán-based brand Région, she began traveling in recent years to remote locations outside of her home base in Mérida, to learn from the traditional craftspeople who typically work far outside the city. There, she was particularly drawn to a clay known as “el barro de Ticul," or the mud of Ticul. Rough, dirty, and filled with impurities, the clay is like a terracotta, but with a more luminous color and texture.
May we interest you in a gloopy borosilicate coffee pourer? How about a checkerboard body pillow? A donabe, to cook all that rice you've been hoarding, and a surfboard, if you're lucky enough to live in a temperate climate, seem like perfect quarantine gifts. Those items and more were chosen for today's gift guide by a selection of Sight Unseen's far-flung contributing editors and writers: Los Angeles–based Dana Covit and Jennifer S. Li, Milan-based Laura May Todd, Cape Town– based Alix-Rose Cowie, and New York–based Shoko Wanger, Natalie Shukur, and Drew Zeiba.
In This Banner Year for Outdoor Art, Anders Ruhwald’s IMA Garden Installation is a Standout Favorite
At Newfields, the gardens that surround the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Detroit-based ceramicist Anders Herwald Ruhwald installed an exhibition of 10 large-scale ceramic works. Titled Century Garden, the sculptures — many of which are meant to hold plants — were tucked into the wilder, more overgrown parts of the garden; though the ceramic surfaces appeared almost tie-dyed, mottled as they were with yellows and blues, tangerine oranges and greens, they were camouflaged amongst the flowers and native plants, creating an uncanny effect.
Simone Bodmer-Turner's most recent project, a build-out of her Brooklyn studio, explodes the scale of her ceramic forms. Taking over the doorway and an entire wall adjacent to the former factory’s bright loft windows, she installed a bench, desk, and shelving in textured white gypsum — what she describes as an homage to the Mediterranean-influenced organic architects that have shaped her ceramics practice thus far.
While the work of Creative Growth artists has hung in the MoMA and Brooklyn Museum, has been emblazoned on designer accessories by Marc Jacobs, has been commissioned by Facebook, and has been scooped up by everyone from celebrities to the most prestigious galleries and dealers, there are still many people who are happening upon it for the first time. Here, 10 artists on the current Creative Growth roster whose work we find especially compelling.
Contextualizing the work of Shanghai-based ceramic studio Open Object is a challenge; it feels starkly hybridized, a combination of East Asian craft traditions and Scandinavian aesthetics, playing into Westerners’ misconceptions of Chinese artistic disciplines and histories. That tension is, to some extent, by design.
This New Ceramics Brand is a Collab Between Two Parisians and the Berber Craftspeople of Northern Algeria
The unconventional ceramics brand IBKKI is the brainchild of Parisians Azel Ait-Mokhtar and Youri Asantcheeff. Their collections are a physical manifestation of their travels to the Kabylie region of Algeria and their collaboration with Berber craftspeople, but the duo didn’t take their cues from European Modernists like Matisse and Picasso, who had a tendency to appropriate elements from African art and call them their own.