Pictured: Jasmine Baetz, Blood in the fire, sugar in the milk (detail).
On View:January 13–April 21, 2024
Public Reception:Saturday, January 20, 2024, 4:00–6:00 PM 
Virtual Artist Talk:Thursday, February 22, 2024, 11:00 AM–12:00 PM 

Blood in the fire, sugar in the milk – Exhibition Overview

Since 2016, the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) has partnered with the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College to produce exhibitions of works by the guest curators of the Scripps College Ceramic Annual. In 2024, Scripps College’s Lincoln Visiting Professor of Ceramics Jasmine Baetz will curate the 79th Annual: The idea of feeling brown. The exhibition invokes Jose Esteban Muñoz’s The Sense of Brown and brings together artists who convey situated understanding, historical consciousness, feeling, and emotion through their work with clay. At the Igal and Diane Silber Vault Gallery at AMOCA, Baetz will show Blood in the fire, sugar in the milk, an installation of ceramic components made with the help of Mara Halpern, Jasper Bown, em irvin, and Christian Vistan. 


Upon their arrival 1,200 years ago in western India, diasporic Zoroastrians promised local authorities that their presence would be like “sugar in the milk.” This metaphor continues to frame their negotiation of differentiation and assimilation today. It’s a sweet story, and I take its appeals to material and mixture to theorize my own experiences of un/belonging as a Zoroastrian, and also to build spaces of reclamation like this installation. Blood in the fire, sugar in the milk is a disidentified fire temple, formed by my long study of and occasional participation in Zoroastrian ritual. This space and its arrangement are specific to my experiences of climbing to the roof when barred entry to the temple, my connection with the people of my ancestry whose identities were erased by the totalizing and whitewashing stories of sugar in the milk, and my rejection of religious supremacy. 

-Jasmine Baetz

About the artist

Jasmine Baetz (she/her) has made things out of clay from a young age, and it remains her primary tool for making sense of the world. She holds a BA in religious studies from the University of Toronto, a diploma in Fine Arts from Langara College in Vancouver, a BFA in 3D Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was Assistant Professor of Art at Coker University in Hartsville, SC and is the Lincoln Visiting Professor in Ceramics at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA.

Visit Baetz’s website.

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