Clay Dynasty at Powerhouse Museum

Mon 11th October, 2021 – Sun 29th January, 2023
Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007
A major new exhibition celebrates 50 years of Australian studio ceramics.

Australia’s rich history of studio ceramics has been shaped by three generations of makers. From the pioneers of functional pottery tradition to contemporary artists who push the boundaries of the medium, Clay Dynasty is the first major exhibition to showcase Australian studio ceramic practice across the entirety of this period.

Featuring more than 160 artists and 400 objects, this new Powerhouse Museum exhibition charts fascinating changes from functional pottery to the quest for free artistic expression in ceramics. Kicking off with the functional tradition that flourished in the 1960s, Clay Dynasty travels through to the radical 1970s when form and content challenged function, with many objects embodying the American Funk art movement as well as contemporary culture, and then to the 1980s which brought complete freedom to postmodern ceramics setting the stage for the explosion of free form and imagery for decades to come.

Clay Dynasty presents 70 new objects acquired for the Powerhouse collection including a series of new works commissioned by Powerhouse in 2020 and 2021 from ceramicists based across Australia. Among them are Gamilaroi artist Penny Evans, Brisbane artist Nicolette Johnson, National Art School-trained artist Juz Kitson, accomplished Tiwi ceramist and woodcarver Jock Puautjimi, and Queensland-based artist Kenji Uranishi.

The exhibition also features works recently acquired by the Powerhouse from Western Australian artist Pippin Drysdale, the National Art School’s Lynda Draper, Luritja-Pintupi artist Kunmanara Carroll, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, award-winning artist and member of Hermannsburg Potters Rona Panangka Rubuntja, and Pitjantjatjara-Yankunytjatjara artist Carlene Thompson. Also featured in the exhibition are acclaimed artists Peter Cooley, Jeffery Mincham AM and Toni Warburton.

Other pieces from the Powerhouse’s collection include South Australian artist Margaret Dodd’s ceramic car Two Blues Holden which famously feminised the macho FJ Holden of the 1970s; Joan Ground’s 1973 ceramic postal parcels; and a rare collection of early pottery produced by Indigenous Australian makers between 1968 and 1974 at Darwin’s Bagot Pottery. Designed in collaboration with Aileen Sage Architects and AX interactive, the exhibition is running all the way through until January 2023.

More details. Entry is free.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Powerhouse Museum.