Pictured: 1961 Architectural Pottery catalog image. Max and Rita Lawrence, Architectural Pottery Records (Collection 1587). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
On View:August 17, 2024–March 2, 2025
Accompanying Book:Architectural Pottery: Ceramics for a Modern Landscape
Opening Reception:Saturday, September 7, 2024, 4:00–6:00 PM 

Architectural Pottery: Ceramics for a Modern Landscape – Exhibition Overview

AMOCA is pleased to present Architectural Pottery: Ceramics for a Modern Landscape, a new exhibition exploring the significant impact of mid-twentieth-century architecture and design on artists in California.

In 1945, the Case Study House program was launched by Arts + Architecture magazine. The program commissioned some of architecture’s greatest talents—including Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen—to study, plan, design, and build houses in anticipation of increased demand for housing at the end of WWII. The Los Angeles-based program created 36 prototype homes with published plans for modern residences that could be easily and inexpensively constructed. These mid-century modern homes are characterized by wide open spaces, expansive walls of glass, and flat roofs, with an emphasis on blending the interior with exterior spaces to erase boundaries between nature and the built environment.

In 1949, Lagardo Tackett (1911-1992), a Los Angeles-based ceramic artist and professor, challenged his students with a design assignment: to create forms that would fit the interior and garden spaces of these new modern homes. The students created simple, refined forms to be used as planters and further accentuate indoor and outdoor spaces; they later staged an exhibition at a local nursery. Max and Rita Lawrence, who attended the exhibition, became intrigued with the concept. The Lawrences partnered with two student designers, John Follis and Rex Goode, and founded the Architectural Pottery company in 1950. Within twenty years, the company grew into a vibrant manufactory with a design line of several hundred products, including some of the most enduring forms in mid-century modernism. 

Architectural Pottery: Ceramics for a Modern Landscape is curated by Jo Lauria, AMOCA’s Adjunct Curator.

The exhibition brings together work by the largely under-recognized ceramic artists and graphic and industrial designers Marilyn Kay Austin, Raul Angulo Coronel, David Cressey, Aurilla Doerner, Al Eggleston, John Follis, Leon Galleto, Rex Goode, Frank Krueger, Malcolm Leland, Paul McCobb, Jack Morris, Gordon Newell, LaGardo Tackett.

Also on view will be contemporary photographs by Chavkin, period photographs of Architectural Pottery planters in situ in mid-century modern residences by Julius Shulman (Getty Research Institute Archive), original catalogs and ephemera from Architectural Pottery sourced from private collections, and reproductions of company materials from the UCLA Library Special Collection.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a book from Monacelli Press, featuring full color images and new essays by Jo Lauria, Dan Chavkin, and Jeffery Head.

This exhibition and accompanying book are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Department of Arts and Culture, the Dew Foundation, the Boardman Family Foundation, and the Palm Springs Modern Committee. AMOCA would also like to thank the many collectors of Architectural Pottery for generously lending works for the exhibition and Monacelli Press for their support and editorial guidance.

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