This exhibition challenges 14 contemporary ceramic artists to respond to objects included in Animal Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes and Kings, an exhibition at the Harvard Art Museums which brings together nearly 60 elaborate vessels of animal shape and offers a glimpse into the rich symbolism and communal practices that found expression at the gatherings in which they were used. The show offers a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary examination of these vessels, whose history spans geography and time, across three continents and over three millennia, vividly illustrates how shapes, artistic forms, ideas and traditions have exchanged across borders throughout time.
14 internationally recognized contemporary sculptors and vessel makers were provided with images of the works selected for the Harvard Art Museums’ exhibition, and invited to seek inspiration in subject matter, form, function and/or culture of origin. The intent of Raise a Glass – A Contemporary Response to Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World is not to replicate but for artists working with the time-honored materials of ceramic, metal and glass to honor and provide a complimentary view into the mind of ancient makers represented in the Animal Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes and Kings exhibition.
The public will have the opportunity for a hands-on encounter with materials and process during the opening reception on October 13, 2018 to enrich their viewing experience. Artists from the Harvard Ceramics Program will demonstrate the use of ceramic press molds developed for research purposes for curators of the Harvard Art Museum exhibition. And participants will be invited to try their hand at press molding their own terracotta clay animal-headed drinking vessels.
Richard W. James
Support for this event is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding for the exhibition was provided in memory of Melvin R. Seiden, Malcolm H. Wiener, and Michael and Helen Lehmann, and by the generous support of the David M. Robinson Fund; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Henry P. McIlhenny Fund; and the M. Victor Leventritt Fund.
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