Contemporary Japanese ceramic artists make objects that challenge traditional definitions of clay, in both technique and aesthetic expression. Several postwar movements (Sōdeisha, Shikōkai, and Joryū Tōgei) formed the foundation for the pluralism of clay production that today’s artists exhibit through active redefinition of functionality, purpose, and articulation of form. In a move away from traditional craft, avant-garde and contemporary artists use clay as a means of sculptural expression.

The works on display demonstrate a wide variety of transformations, innovations, and reinterpretations of traditional wares. While some artists defy notions of inside versus outside, others conceptualize new definitions of form through materials, processes, surface treatments, and firing methods. The artists include both outsiders of the field and those from established artistic lineages.

This exhibition was drawn from the Harn permanent collection, including recent gifts and acquisitions, with the addition of a selection of loans by Jeffrey and Carol Horvitz. ClayCurvyCool is made possible by the Cofrin Curator of Asian Art Endowment.

Black Flame by Tomomi Tanaka
Refined Silk, Kyoto Wave (
Neriage Otsubo by Matsui Koyo