The New York Ceramics Fair is most intimate of the Americana Week shows. This year, with its move to the theater of the ornate and decidedly old-world Bohemian National Hall on East 73 Street, the show felt like it had come home.
What I love about this show is that it makes the whole concept of firing clay new again. We’re talking about a concept a couple of thousand years old that has seen so many incarnations that you can’t pin it in once phrase. It literally takes a trip to a show to get the point that ceramics, from rustic to fantastic, are basics of design.
There were 2,000 year old garlands of beads, examples of student ceramicists works, majolica, humorous earthenware pieces, formal sets, Chinese porcelains…all just amazing. The seamless way the exhibits flow really make the ceramics relevant. It proves them to be more than wedding gifts and things you want to surround yourself with.
The opening night gala drew an overflowing crowd for the 30 exhibits. Rumor had it that Jim Carey was among them. With other events going on in the building at the same time, the evening ended with unexpected visits from foreign diplomats.
A quick perusal surfaced Elise Abrams, the newest exhibitor. With Ceramics Fair coinciding with a Miami Fair on most years, making it impossible for her to be in two places at once, she was testing the NYC waters for her collections of complete sets of China.
One of my favorites, Iznik Classics, or Turkish tiles to the uninitiated, displayed the most exotic offerings. While most of the works are 40 years old, more or less, the techniques are ancients.
The best by far, simply because it is of the moment and for these times, was the Loan exhibit. “1380 ° C: Selections from the students of Ceramic Design at the Faculty of Art and Design of the J.E. Purkyne University in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic.”
Once again, the Ceramics Fair turned out to be a far more fun than its name implies. It runs through Sunday, January 23. Check it out!