Jenni Sorkin Publishes New Book on Ceramics and the Artistic Avant-Garde

Jenni Sorkin, Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Assistant Professor Jenni Sorkin's new book Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community was recently published by University of Chicago Press. Live Form discusses the far-reaching impact ceramics had in the second half of the twentieth century and shines new light on the relation of ceramics to the artistic avant-garde by looking at the central role of women in the field.  by focusing on three Americans who promoted ceramics as an advanced artistic medium: Marguerite Wildenhain, a Bauhaus-trained potter and writer; Mary Caroline (M. C.) Richards, who renounced formalism at Black Mountain College to pursue new performative methods; and Susan Peterson, best known for her live throwing demonstrations on public television. Together, these women pioneered a hands-on teaching style and led educational and therapeutic activities for war veterans, students, the elderly, and many others. Far from being an isolated field, ceramics offered a sense of community and social engagement, which, Sorkin argues, crucially set the stage for later participatory forms of art and feminist collectivism. [edited synopsis from UCP]