Spotlight On: Garth Johnson, ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center

Spotlight On: Garth Johnson, ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center


Garth Johnson: My name is Garth Johnson, and
I’m the curator of ceramics at the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center. Ceramics is a very accessible art. In the era before Tupperware, everyone’s food
was stored in ceramic pots, ceramic vessels. In our collection, we’ve got close to 4,000
pieces, and one of the great things about the Ceramics Research Center is that we can
show about 700 of those pieces at any one time. I do like to make things interesting, and
I do like to look outside of what people would normally look at as ceramics. One example would be the current exhibition,
which is taking terra cotta sewer pipes, and Mission Clay Art and Industry invites artists
to come in and work with their factory and to carve and glaze and to create artworks
out of their pipes. Our students, scholars from around the world,
different visitors can come in and see an incredible range of things from functional
cups and bowls and pieces made by potters to incredible sculptures and edgy conceptual
pieces by artists who are trying to move ceramics into the 21st century. One of the great things about the Ceramics
Research Center is part of our mission includes connecting the public with artwork, so we
have an incredible shop. You can come in, and you can buy ceramic pieces
and jewelry from some of the best artists that Arizona has to offer, but also artists
who have a great national or international reputation. I have lived all over the country, but the
ASU Ceramics Research Center really is the best collection of its type and was my dream
job. This is one example of one of the many artistic
jewels and one of the incredible cultural jewels here in Tempe, and it’s my mission
to share not just with the public in the entire world, but to give back to my community and
to focus on Tempe as well. The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center
is open to the public Thursday through Saturday. We’re open from 11 o’clock in the morning
until 7 o’clock at night.

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