Hunterdon Art Museum celebrates diversity of U.S. Ceramics in new 'Claybash 2023'

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Hunterdon Art Museum celebrates diversity of U.S. Ceramics in new 'Claybash 2023'
Tony Moore, Blue Guide I, 2020, wood-fired ceramic, cobalt shino, rutile oxide, 21.5” x 21.5” x 8.75”.

CLINTON, NJ.- Today, the Hunterdon Art Museum unveils "Claybash 2023," an exhibition exploring the innovation and diversity of contemporary ceramics by artists from across the U.S. The exhibition, open to the public until Sept. 3, 2023, reflects HAM's longstanding interest in ceramic arts. The first in a series of triennial exhibitions planned by the museum, "Claybash 2023" features works by 42 artists selected by juror Jennifer Martin, executive director of The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.

Marjorie Frankel Nathanson, executive director of the Hunterdon Art Museum, said, "With 'Claybash 2023,' we are delighted to showcase the multifaceted nature of clay as both a material and idea. We are introducing a variety of works that breathe life into clay in intriguing ways. Whether the pieces align with traditional notions of being 'functional' or 'sculptural,' or whether they break those boundaries altogether, each represents a distinct voice in the dynamic landscape of ceramics. As we honor our past engagement with the art form, we remain committed to encouraging fresh, forward-looking expressions of the medium."

"Claybash 2023" winners, selected by Martin, include first prize recipient Skeff Thomas for "Container with Target in Orange, Black and White #2." Joan Lurie’s “Untitled” won second prize, with honorable mentions going to Mila Vovk's "Breaking," Tony Moore's “Blue Guide I,” and Joni Maya Oye's “Writing the Bones.”

HAM's relationship with ceramics began in the 1960s, enriched by the hands-on involvement of globally recognized ceramic artist Toshiko Takaezu (1922-2011). Her impact is permanently commemorated in the museum's "Toshiko Takaezu Terrace,” named after the artist in 2016. Furthermore, Takaezu's sculpture, "Three Graces," is on long-term loan from The Takaezu Foundation and is a prominent feature of the museum’s front outdoor garden. Throughout its 70-year history, the museum has hosted numerous ceramic-focused solo and group exhibitions, many curated by Dr. Hildreth York and Ingrid Renard.

Sponsored by Unity Bank, "Claybash 2023" is dedicated to York, acknowledging the pivotal role she played in strengthening HAM and the profound impact her work and wisdom have had on the museum's exhibitions program.

Programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners, through funds administered by the Cultural & Heritage Commission; Hyde and Watson Foundation; Union Foundation; The Large Foundation, along with other corporations, foundations and individuals.

The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft, and design in a 19th-century stone mill that is on the National Register of Historic Places. A landmark regional art center since 1953, HAM showcases works by established and emerging contemporary artists and also offers a dynamic schedule of classes and workshops for children, teens, and adults.

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