BackTalk@The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Presented as part of the 42nd Annual NCECA conference
(co-curated with Robin Lambert)

Michael Flaherty
Carole Epp
Shannon Isfeld
Lia Tajcnar

The field of contemporary ceramics has long relied on strong ties to the techniques and traditions of ceramic history for the basis of its conceptual investigations. Due to the richness of this past, ceramic artists have no shortage of historical material that can be mined, referenced, and reworked. Like any specialized field with a long and respected history, ceramics has developed its own unique and sometimes-insular collection of methodologies, mythologies, dogma, cult figures, celebrities, and in-jokes. While this prevailing regard for history no doubt reveals a certain measure of respect for what came before, it has also opened up an irresistible opportunity to take these dearly-held beliefs and to crack them open, poke fun at them, to investigate, question, and talk back.

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