Archive for July, 2014

Exhibition_One Bag_Takedown

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Exhibition_One Bag

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Exhibition_One Bag_setup

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014


Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

I got permission from Sinéad Murphy and Zero Books to use the extract from The Art Kettle, below, as an introduction to the work of MA and research students in Ceramics & Glass at the RCA. The team responsible for our catalogue decided that the text was either not relevant to what we are doing, i.e. too much mention of ‘craft’, or too political.

The book is political – Murphy argues, broadly, that contemporary art is considered by many to be an arena for dissent, but, in reality, hosts a faux radicalism, which troubles our power structures not a jot. Her opening example of the difference between Brian Haw’s powerful Iraq War protest in Parliament Square and Mark Wallinger’s politically ineffectual restaging of the same, in Tate Britain, is a dismemberment not dissimilar to the one experienced by the Brazilian football team last night.

The ‘Craft’ chapter takes a fresh look at the ideas of William Morris, cleverly taking in Kant’s championing of pattern as the epitome of disinterested art and Richard Wright’s Turner-winning wallpaper. The chapter ends with:

And craft, that creative, that thinking and feeling, mode of living for which use and beauty are warp and woof, just disappears, divided out between art-less works of capital and use-less works of art, between factory floors and suburban walls.

My slightly frustrated email responses (edited and conflated) to our catalogue team, copied to all students, were quietly ignored by all but two:

Why isn’t the Murphy text relevant? Do you not appreciate that we are working in a craft discipline – based on specialised material knowledge and the development of skills? The whole of C&G practice, as we know it, grows out of Morris’s ideas and the Arts & Crafts movement.

Ceramics and Glass can be other things too – design or art, but if they were only those things, then we wouldn’t be working in a department of C&G. The craft element is what makes C&G different (and special) and surely it is exciting for us that other disciplines, such as Philosophy, are showing an interest? It’s not about being fenced in, but having a good knowledge of the paddock and knowing where the gates (and the holes) are.