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Nelson-Atkins Exhibition Explores Connections between Clay, Art, Process

Centerpiece of 50th Anniversary Conference of NCECA

Kansas City, MO. Feb 19, 2016–A new exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City brings 24 artists together to display innovative approaches to clay. Opening Feb. 26, Unconventional Clay: Engaged in Change explores connections between clay, art, social issues and process. Works range from small vessels to large scale installations, with artists responding to contemporary issues. The exhibition will be the centerpiece of the 50th anniversary conference of NCECA, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, a leading arts organization for artists, educators, curators and collectors of contemporary ceramics.

2012.242 NASA Chawan jpeg web
Tom Sachs, American (born 1966). NASA Chawan, 2012. Porcelain with engobe inlay, 2.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches. Courtesy of Baldwin Gallery.

“The exhibition brings together the passion of artists, exploring innovative uses of clay, while the conference offers students, artists and collectors a broad range of traditional and new artistic expression,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “The Nelson-Atkins and Kansas City could not be more proud of demonstrating our commitment to this, the most ancestral and versatile of mediums.”

The exhibition is co-curated by Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and NCECA Exhibitions Director Leigh Taylor Mickelson. The installation will be held in the Project Space and adjacent gallery in the Bloch Building.

“Leigh and I were excited to show new work by artists who are pushing the boundaries and manipulating clay as a medium,” said Futter. “We are privileged to work with such talented artists who are changing the way we look at tradition and innovation.”

The exhibition investigates how projection, 3D modeling, video and advanced materials can be combined for aesthetic and intellectual impact to engage visitors in new ways. Unconventional Clay also investigates projects by community-oriented artists that encourage audience interactivity. It runs through June 12.

Programs in conjunction with this exhibition:

Ehren Tool, Artist in Residence

March 5 10:00–5:00 p.m.

March 6 10:00–3:00 p.m.

Artist and activist Ehren Tool will be in residence at the Nelson-Atkins, March 5-6, 2016. During his residency, Ehren will be throwing cups in the Bloch Lobby and interacting with the public. He works with images supplied by the public—often military; but for this project, he will work with all kinds of communities—soliciting photographs, scanning them and then returning the images. These images are then printed as decals and transferred onto the bisque-fired cups and glazed. Visitors will be able to acquire a cup on Sunday, June 12, the final day of the exhibition.

Joey Watson, Artist Performance

Joey Watson with William Ellis Bradley and J. Ashley Miller

March 17

Noguchi Court, 6:30 p.m.

A performance of ceramic instruments that function as tonal (overtone) resonators and are activated by touch, breath and light.

Tom Sachs, Artist Talk

May 5

Atkins Auditorium, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

Image caption: Tom Sachs, American (born 1966). NASA Chawan, 2012. Porcelain with engobe inlay, 2.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches. Courtesy of Baldwin Gallery.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of more than 35,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are Wednesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org/.

For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:

Kathleen Leighton, Manager, Media Relations and Video Production

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art