• 18 October 2017
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • This talk will be live streamed from the Yale Center for British Art
  • Lecture Room, Paul Mellon Centre

You can watch this seminar live at 6pm (GMT) on 18th October from the Yale Center for British Art's Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/YaleBritishArt/

In this seminar, curator Martina Droth discusses the exhibition Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery, which is on view at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, this autumn. The exhibition is the first scholarly examination of the ceramic arts to be undertaken by the YCBA, and the first major survey of the subject to be presented at a North American museum. The ceramic arts are often set apart from the mainstream of British art history, and treated as a specialist discipline, with its own distinct exhibitionary arenas. It would be hard to imagine this exhibition at Tate Britain, for example; the more expected context is the museum of applied and decorative art such as the V&A, or the Fitzwilliam Museum, where this show is indeed traveling after it closes at Yale. Given that the Center was itself explicitly founded as a fine art collection, which relates the history of British art primarily as a history of paintings, Things of Beauty Growing sends a timely signal about the importance of ceramics to the wider field. It shows that this field is interdisciplinary and multivalent, and it reveals ceramics in Britain to resonate with contemporary art practices at large, which are inherently global. The installation Made in China by the British conceptual artist Clare Twomey in many ways sums up this expanded field of ceramics, in that it reaches beyond autonomous craft practices to an engagement with the international material language of the vessel.

“Things of Beauty Growing”: British Studio Pottery has been co-curated by Martina Droth, Glenn Adamson, and Simon Olding. In spring 2018, the exhibition will travel to the the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, where the curators are Victoria Avery and Helen Ritchie. A publication of the same title, co-edited by the curators, has been published by the Center with the Fitzwilliam Museum in association with Yale University Press.  

About the speaker

  • Head and shoulders portrait of Martina Droth

    Martina Droth is Deputy Director of Research, Exhibitions and Publications, and Curator of Sculpture, at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. She is co-editor of British Art Studies, and chair of the Association of Research Institutes in Art History. Her research focuses on sculpture and interdisciplinary approaches to practice, materials, and modes of display, with a particular emphasis on British sculpture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her recent exhibitions include Bill Brandt | Henry Moore (Yale Center for British Art, The Hepworth Wakefield, and the Sainsbury Centre, 2020-2021) and Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery (Yale Center for British Art and the Fitzwilliam Museum, 2017-2018).