Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection

best kept secret

January 11–March 30, 2014

Pomona, CA – The American Museum of Ceramic Art is honored to present Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection, an exhibition organized by The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College. Curated by Kirk Delman, Collections Manager and Registrar, the exhibition will feature work from the Scripps College Ceramic Collection. The show will provide viewers insights into the contributions of individual donors and an opportunity to assess the RCWG’s achievements as a collecting institution for more than six decades.

During the mid-1950s, the ceramics department at Otis Art Institute (then the Los Angeles County Art Institute) was a place of artistic vitality and innovative energy. At Otis, Peter Voulkos led a “revolution in clay” by questioning the tradition that ceramic forms must be utilitarian and creating instead nonfunctional, sculptural works that gave the medium a new freedom of expression. Voulkos and other notable artists maintained the momentum of this philosophy in Northern California at U.C. Berkeley.

The Scripps Collection is also remarkable in that much of it came to the college through one donor, Fred Marer, who was a teacher of modest means. Fred Marer was a mathematics professor at Los Angeles City College and never had substantial resources, but he amassed his collection slowly through actual contact with the artists themselves. Because his budget was limited, he most often bought works directly from the artists. Fred began collecting in the early 1940s, first acquiring a piece by one of the leading ceramists in Southern California, Laura Andreson. This purchase piqued his interest in clay and encouraged him to investigate further.

The growth of the Scripps Collection was due to the influence of renowned ceramist Paul Soldner, who came to Scripps after graduating from Otis and built the Scripps ceramic program into a major center of study. Soldner’s leadership of the Scripps program, along with the Scripps Ceramic Annual (celebrating its 70th ceramic annual exhibition in January, 2014), were the prime reasons Fred Marer decided to make this generous gift to the college.

This exhibition of more than one hundred and eighty objects will include works from the Otis group and will also highlight many others, including Laura Andreson, Robert Arneson, Hans Coper, Phil Cornelius, Shoji Hamada, Jun Kaneko, John Mason, and Jim Melchert.

Exhibition Sponsor: Gould Asset Management LLC, Claremont.

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Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection
Grand Opening
Saturday, January 11, 2014, 6:00pm-9:00pm
In conjunction with the Art Colony’s Second Saturday Artwalk

Family Day
Free Admission and Clay Activities for the entire family!
Saturday, January 25, 2014, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Second Saturday Lecture Series:
Kirk Delman, RCWG Collection Manager and Curator of
Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection
Saturday, February 8, 2014, 7:00pm

Demonstration Workshop
Ceramic Conservation
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 10:00am-4:00pm
Price and Lecturer/Demonstrator: TBA

Second Saturday Lecture Series:
Patsy Cox
Saturday, March 8, 2014, 7:00pm

Family Day
Free Admission and Clay Activities for the entire family!
Saturday, March 22, 2014, 1:00pm-4:00pm

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