Midlands: The best is not too good for you

Locations & Events

Face jug (13th Century), Staffordshire Earthenware, 44.8 x 18.4 cm. Photograph reproduced with the permission of The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry

Symposium: The Best is Not Too Good for You
Thursday 15 May, 2 – 6pm
Zilkha Auditorium, Whitechapel Gallery

How do we ascribe value and meaning to objects in our everyday lives? Taking applied arts as a point of departure, speakers examine the politics at play between the handmade and the industrially produced, and the way in which the idea of uniqueness impacts on what something might be worth. Featuring artists Matthew Darbyshire, Paul Scott, art historian Tanya Harrod, and curators Ingrid Swenson and Sarah Shalgosky.

2pm Introduction by Curatorial Fellow Ingrid Swenson.

2.10pm Tanya Harrod responds to the current CAS display by looking back to the confident taxonomies of the last century and considering the terms craft, art, design, vernacular, folk and the value they carry. She poses the question; what is this mysterious genre called craft and what can it and its practitioners teach us?

2.50pm Exhibiting artist Paul Scott makes ceramic works that he collectively refers to as Cumbrian Blues(s). Entitled Fracking, Fukushima, Willows, Windmills and Wild Roses, his presentation expands on his ongoing investigation of the history of pottery manufacturing as a rich platform for the exploration of contemporary issues in society and politics.

3.30pm Screening of Richard Hamilton‘s Art and Chips(1993), which was produced as part of the BBC QED Arts series.

4pm Break

4.30pm Curator Sarah Shalgosky discusses the development of the University of Warwick art and pottery collection and the ways in which it is used and understood now.

5pm Artist Matthew Darbyshire reflects on a practice of negotiating other people’s collections and displays.

5.30pm Tanya Harrod and Ingrid Swenson in conversation.


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