Nouveau Moche Pottery: Jonathan Kaplan

By Merino, Anthony | Ceramics Art & Perception, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Nouveau Moche Pottery: Jonathan Kaplan


Merino, Anthony, Ceramics Art & Perception


CANADIAN SOCIAL CRITIC MARSHALL MCLUHAN coined the phrase "the media is the message". This declaration is not as simple as it seems. The word media means so many things that trying to force it into single meaning is like carrying Jell-O[TM] with rubber bands. The plurality of meanings makes this phrase a conceptual master key for the two major movements of Modernism. Define media as the material from which objects are forged--the statement embodies the reductionism of orthodox Modernism. Critics like Greenberg, Fried and Krause all propose that the role of the artist is to make the essential qualities of the material opaque to the viewer. Change this definition of media to mean the social institutions that celebrate the object and the meaning changes. McLuhan's dictate embodies the conceptual ground of subversive movements like Dadaism and Pop-Art. Consider that print, broadcast, theatre and the Internet are all distinct media. They do not differ in their primary function: to deliver content to an audience. Their unique mechanics distinguish these media. The creation of objects for display in authoritative institutions (such as galleries and museums) is just another tradition. Jonathan Kaplan's recent works of pottery, Nouveau Moche, reflect this tradition. He merges his own cultural history with forms and motifs appropriated from Moche Pottery to create his art. In doing so, Kaplan illuminates the ramification of McLuhan's statement.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The most immediate influence on Kaplan's work from his own cultural history is Pop-Artist Andy Warhol. Conceptually, both artists build on the same historical source: the Dadaist art movement. They adhere to and diverge from this precedent in similar ways. The Dadaist asserted that the crucial element in turning objects into art was the identification of an object as art by an authoritative institution. The best known Dadaist artist, Marcel Duchamp, created the world's most famous ceramic art piece, The Fountain, a graffiti scrawled urinal. The work offered was not visually appealing, well designed or remotely uplifting. The only thing that made this work art is that it was shown in a gallery and later in art history texts. The subject (urinals) was not normally associated with art. Use of subjects not normally associated with fine art creates the most obvious link between Duchamp and Warhol. Kaplan uses fish and birds for his images while Warhol made thousand of images of soup cans and celebrities.

Kaplan and Warhol, however, veer away from Duchamp on different aspects. First of all, Duchamp's Readymades are not representational. The wine rack he places in a gallery not only looks like a wine rack, it is a wine rack. Relative to this, there is a formal difference. Furthermore, Duchamp shows The Fountain on its side so that any quality of proportion is obliterated. His works have little or no visual appeal. On the other hand, Kaplan and Warhol conceptually create depictions of beautiful objects. A consistent source of this beauty is imperfection. For example, each takes what would be considered flaws in the manufacturing process to generate beauty. Warhol's silkscreen reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (and his use of streaks and light spots) create beauty. This dynamic also plays out in Kaplan's Gone Fishing, a pitcher form with a stirrup handle dissected by a slipcast fish. It is where the glaze drips, pools and pulls from the body of the form that makes it far more beautiful than a uniformly glazed version of the same object. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Nouveau Moche Pottery: Jonathan Kaplan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.