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The Body, The Object, The Other at Craft Contemporary


On view: January 25–May 10, 2020

Across the street from LACMA, the newly renamed Craft Contemporary (formally the Craft and Folk Art Museum) is hosting its second clay biennial. The exhibition, titled The Body, The Object, The Other, focuses on clay artists who explore themes of the body. This is apt, given the intensely physical process that clay demands of its maker. Throughout the show, many artists create playfully figurative work. Roxane Jackson’s monstrous ceramic hand has long yellow fingernails that curl around a seashell.  Anders Ruhwald creates simple mask forms by thumbing two eye holes into a clay slab. Phyllis Green reimagines Edgar Degas’ ballerinas as plump mounds wearing tutus. Other artists explore how clay might act as a metaphor for the body, a record of touch and action. In Premonition of a Butterfly, the artist Brie Ruais performs the making of one of her ceramic wall works. The video is filmed from above, and the artist can be seen, naked and with a butterfly painted on her back, on all fours, using her limbs to make deep grooves in the raw clay. Nicole Seisler uses clay to mark the museum wall in a process called wedging, which is used to get bubbles out of clay before working with it. Then the artwork becomes a record of the body’s interaction with a material, rather than focusing on the material itself.