Eimear McBride on art and sex


Yes yes yes

I’m generally left a bit cold by art with no sex in it. Not that every work of art need preoccupy itself with meditations on the subject or be confined to representations of the various physical acts. Quite the contrary; the world is already overstuffed with clichéd recreations of the blunt and bland doings of the flesh. What I mean is that I find it hard to rouse any interest in art or literature that relegates the life of the body to some lesser status than the goings-on of the mind or emotions.

[first paragraph]

We may live in sexually liberated times, but as the media moralises, the internet demonises and pornography compartmentalises almost every form of sexual expression, how liberated do any of us really feel? In the sexual realm, vulnerability, imperfection, naivety and the search for joy have become the new taboos. Fortunately, they remain the basic tools of art. Keeping sex and art together, to push against humanity’s increasing alienation from itself and the physical world, looks likely to soon become the most transgressive act of all.

[last paragraph] [my emphasis]


Yes yes yes!

Full article here: Guardian 20.05.17

Vulnerability, imperfection and naivety. In practice, it is difficult to be confident enough to display these. A paradox, perhaps. A bit like the embrace of failure. What is ‘good’ failure as opposed to ‘bad’ failure and how can the former be rewarded?

Good failure, I would suggest, is recognising that we don’t know much, while bringing total commitment to whatever it is we are doing and taking risks, i.e. making ourselves vulnerable through the performance of our imperfection and naivety.

This, tangentially, speaks to the over-use of jargon-heavy theory, my current hobby horse. See this post on academic hoaxing from Graham Harman.



Anna Maria Maiolino + clay / wood

I’ve been circling around Anna Maria Maiolino for a couple of years now – a very interesting artist, and I love what she does with clay (more later). The following, though, is an amusing, if barely credible, example of the extremely limited knowledge of process possessed by many theory / history types (more later), i.e. the editor, who shall remain nameless.


BSAD MA students at Holburne Museum, Friday 26 May, 6:00 – 9:00pm


Muse: Reflections in Place

26th May – 11th June

Each year Bath School of Art and Design, MA Ceramics and MA Textiles students engage with and respond to the Holburne Museum’s wonderfully eclectic collection, developing knowledge and skills through research, making and exhibiting.

This year six students have created a diverse exhibition, collectively responding to the architecture of the building and its internal and external spaces; to the social history of the collection and to specific objects within it. Students have used a broad range of production techniques to research and develop ideas, including embroidery, hand building, video and laser cutting.

In Muse: Reflections in Place students have sited works in and around the existing collection and the exhibition is launched as a Holburne Up Late event. On Friday 26th May (6-9 pm), you are invited to experience the museum anew and locate the six temporary additions to the collection.

Muse: Reflections in Place will be on show at the Holburne Museum until 11 June.

More Clay Less Plastic

MORE CLAY LESS PLASTIC was startedin 2014 as an open group on Facebook with the intent of creating a network between ceramicists and the public. The aim is to highlight respect for the environment by inviting people to rethink their daily habits, for example by avoiding disposable plastic.

As in the first edition that took place between September 2016 and May 2017, “MORE CLAY LESS PLASTIC – Change in your hand 2” will be an itinerant international exhibition of functional ceramic ware made by ceramicists from all over the world.

The tour will start in July 2017 in Maniago, (PN) Italy, in Museo dell’Arte Fabbrille and will travel different locations to be confirmed until May 2018.

The participation is open to ceramicists and potters of all nationalities
and ages. Only functional ware is allowed.

Please send the Application Form, the description of the work and the work to:

Download Documents HERE
Deadline to submit applications: 5 June 2017

Bruno Latour and the Lord of Misrule


The enlightened elites — they do exist — realized, after the 1990s, that the dangers summed up in the word “climate” were increasing. Until then, human relationships with the earth had been quite stable. It was possible to grab a piece of land, secure property rights over it, work it, use it, and abuse it. The land itself kept more or less quiet.

The enlightened elites soon started to pile up evidence suggesting that this state of affairs wasn’t going to last. But even once elites understood that the warning was accurate, they did not deduce from this undeniable truth that they would have to pay dearly.

Instead they drew two conclusions, both of which have now led to the election of a lord of misrule to the White House: Yes, this catastrophe needs to be paid for at a high price, but it’s the others who will pay, not us; we will continue to deny this undeniable truth.

If this plausible fiction is correct, it enables us to grasp the “deregulation” and the “dismantling of the welfare state” of the 1980s, the “climate change denial” of the 2000s, and, above all, the dizzying increase in inequality over the past forty years. All these things are part of the same phenomenon: the elites were so thoroughly enlightened that they realized there would be no future for the world and that they needed to get rid of all the burdens of solidarity as fast as possible (hence, deregulation); to construct a kind of golden fortress for the tiny percent of people who would manage to get on in life (leading us to soaring inequality); and, to hide the crass selfishness of this flight from the common world, to completely deny the existence of the threat (i.e., deny climate change). Without this plausible fiction, we can’t explain the inequality, the skepticism about climate change, or the raging deregulation.

From ‘The New Climate’ in Harper’s Magazine. Full article here.

P.S. You don’t need contemporary satire – Jarry’s Ubu Roi says it all.

Felicity Aylieff at BSAD

A great day with Liz A on Monday 15, who spoke about her practice, which is now out of RedHouse Ceramics Design Studio in Jingdezhen, China. Liz also spoke on a broad range of contemporary approaches to form and surface in ceramics.

Two from RedHouse:


Two from Ron Nagle, ‘the master of surface’ (I hadn’t realised that he models the glaze drips):


And the workshop in the afternoon:

Liz A_1Liz A_2Liz A_3Liz A_4Liz A_5Liz A_6