A reflection on the word ‘contemporary’, as it relates to ceramic practice, by Kate Lyons-Miller, for our intro to Analysis of Contemporary Context on Tuesday:

In line with current thinking and discourse

Not reproducing previous ideas, unless with new angles

But nevertheless working within certain, perhaps unwritten parameters, without which, in art, work could be classified as ‘outsider’

Cognisant of current interests regarding material, colour, purpose, message

As defined by popular cultural norms, (which shift), and is seen to do so by means of papers published, mainstream media comment, social media presence, ie new, but not too new…

The word can be contextualised to mean culturally valuable, as in Hauser and Wirth’s ‘Make’, or tired, as in ‘contemporary interior styling’, estate agent shorthand for neutral and appealing to largest population possible, inoffensive and bland

Contemporaneous with —  eg Cardew and Leach were working within the same European cultural context as Coper and Rie during the 1930s, but not necessarily producing similar work, indicates that the word does not mean ‘the same as’

For ceramics made now to be classed as ‘contemporary’ they would be selected for show by certain galleries, and into certain shows, these are in turn selected, by themselves and their peers

Is there a crossover between contemporary and studio?


Author: bsadceramics

Course leader, MA Ceramics Bath School of Art & Design

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