PRINT April 1982


What on earth is wrong with clay? There is still prejudice against clay as an art material. Clay, or (in its ideal form ) AI2O32SiO362H2O, has useful and magical properties: when raw it is pliable; when “cooked” it has a hardness that can approach its rock origins. It can be coated with mineral oxides and fired again until the surface fuses into a glasslike, impenetrable glaze. Coiled, pinched up from the sides, molded or thrown on to a wheel it can be made into pots. Pots! That’s what it is. The prejudice against clay is the prejudice against pots and—dreaded term—the crafts.1

SURELY THE MATERIAL CRITERION for art no longer applies. By material criterion I do not mean that art must be material or have some physical manifestation, though a fairly good case can be made for this. Instead, by material criterion I mean the notion that for any object to qualify as an art work it must at least

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