In the early 1900s, the Surrealists developed a chance-based drawing game they called Exquisite Corpse, where each artist adds to a collaborative effort in sequence without knowing what had been created on the paper, or other material, beforehand. This process explores the notion that randomness can play a role in conjuring meaningful art, and results in an unconscious drawing assembled by two or more artists.
Inspired by the Surrealists, EXQUISITE CORPSE combined the efforts of two students from each Ceramics Program class who, without knowing the other’s designs or intentions, collaborated on an overall pattern to complete one ceramic, clear glazed plate.
To create the plate series, students from Push/Pull and Anything is Possible: Clay & Context, worked individually from a collection of random commercial ceramic decals, cutting and layering images onto half of a porcelain plate. Students created new meanings, combinations and contexts for the decals based on personal and ideas, or inspiration found in outside sources such as the playful style of Takashi Murakami, the act of selecting color or text over imagery found in the decals, or sculptures viewed at the Asian Art Museum. The plates were fired and the completed images hidden from view with paper. The plates were then passed to the next student who filled the empty half. The plates were fired again, becoming a finished and permanent record of an unconscious collaboration between students from both classes.
WANTED: UGLIEST CUPS IN AMERICA
Intro to Ceramics: Journey to the Center of the Earth
WANTED: UGLIEST CUPS IN AMERICA was a national search performed by Michael Swaine’s Intro to Ceramics course to find the ugliest cup ever made.
Students first collected three cups from thrift stores, grandmother’s cupboards, student projects, and former professor’s kitchens. Next, the class had to identify different variations of what constitutes ugly (i.e., cute ugly, disturbing ugly, kitsch ugly, outdated ugly, nonfunctional ugly) and remake two of their favorite ugly cups. Finally, all students made three additional cups, merging the ugliness of their favorite vessels to develop an ugly “gray scale” or ugly scale. What resulted was a realization that between two types of ugliness beauty can be found.
A college-wide vote determined the ultimate winner. However, because prizes were awarded, tempers flared when it was revealed that some entries had been modified to enhance their ugliness -- truly, nothing is more ugly than the lengths some people will go to win.
BRINGING SEXY BACK
BRINGING SEXY BACK was a collaborative, three week project in the ICEBOX Gallery organized by Erik Scollon. Ceramics Program majors, staff, faculty, and outside artists were invited to create functional vessels in the gallery, which turned into a studio for the duration of the project. All participants were asked to dress in some form of “sexy,” and were accompanied by a soundtrack, lighting, and disco ball during their time in glass-walled space. After the work was bisqued and glazed, it was sold at TRAX Gallery as a fundraiser for the CCA Ceramic Guild.
Special thanks to Sandy Simon and TRAX Gallery for their support.