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Dirt on Delight

Institute of Contemporary Art - ICA, Philadelphia

Impulses That Form Clay

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ICA is pleased to present "Dirt On Delight: Impulses That Form Clay," significant work in clay by 22 artists spanning four generations.

Ranging from modestly scaled pots to figurines to large sculptures, these objects cross a spectrum of conventional delineations among fine art, craft, and outsider practices. Collectively they suggest that clay appeals to basic impulses, starting with the delight of building form, coupled with the anxiety of completion. All of the works in the exhibition appear to be in some state of flux or growth.

Clay is a base material. From potsherds to porcelain fixtures, clay is synonymous with the building of industries and cultures. At the same time, its very materiality—its tactile malleability, earthen sensuousness, and humidity—make it the medium of more elemental associations and expressions. The immediacy with which clay allows one to build form and create ornament underlies its appeal—especially in relation to current modes that seem to take fabrication increasingly out of artists' hands. More specifically, this exhibition is an opportunity to examine not only clay's appeal but craft in general.

The artists in "Dirt on Delight" include the current generation (Nicole Cherubini, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Jeffry Mitchell, Sterling Ruby, and Paul Swenbeck), artists who emerged during the 1990s (Ann Agee, Kathy Butterly, Jane Irish, Arlene Shechet, and Beverly Semmes), those who established clay as a critical material during the 1960s and 1970s (Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, Ron Nagle, Ken Price, Adrian Saxe, Beatrice Wood and Betty Woodman), and historic and outsider figures (Lucio Fontana, Peter Voulkos, and Rudolf Staffel, as well as George Ohr and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein).

This exhibition is organized by Senior Curator Ingrid Schaffner and Associate Curator Jenelle Porter, with art historian Glenn Adamson and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue available this spring.

ICA is grateful for primary sponsorship from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. ICA acknowledges generous support from William L. True and funding from The Toby Fund, Locks Foundation, Janet S. Kardon, Mrs. Helen W. Drutt English & H. Peter Stern and Elaine Finkelstein. We are thankful for generous support of this show from ICA's Vision Fund donors: Dorothy A. Weber & Stephen R. Weber Endowment Fund; Nancy E. & Leonard M. Amoroso Exhibition Endowment Fund; Dorothy H. and Martin N. Bandier Endowment Fund; The Cheri S. & Steven M. Friedman Endowment Fund; The Pamela Spiegel Sanders C'78 Exhibition Endowment Fund established by The Jerry & Emily Spiegel Family Foundation, Inc.; Lurie Family Foundation; Lawrence S. Reichlin. Additional funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation, Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. ICA is also grateful to The Chodorow Exhibition Initiative Fund for support of the exhibition's tour.

Following its presentation at ICA, the exhibition will be on view at the Walker Art Center from July 11 to November 29, 2009.

About the Institute of Contemporary Art
Founded in 1963, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is a leader in the presentation and documentation of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, commissions, educational programs, and publications, ICA invites the public to share in the experience, interpretation and understanding of the work of established and emerging artists.

Press contact: Jill Katz
Manager of Marketing & Communications (215) 573-9975

Institute of Contemporary Art University of Pennsylvania
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Stefan Sagmeister
dal 3/4/2012 al 11/8/2012

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