Art Curatorial

A Meal with Toussaint L’Ouverture

Possibly by the Sables Pottery (Medford, Massachusetts), Pitcher, ca. 1840-50. Stoneware with “Rockingham” style glaze. Chipstone Foundation.

It’s been an exciting few weeks for us at the Chipstone Foundation. First, I’d like to introduce Kate Smith, the newest member of the Chipstone team (welcome Kate!), who’s come all the way from England to study our collection.

A couple of weeks ago, we attended and participated in the American Ceramic Circle conference hosted at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Some of the highlights were: Luke Beckerdite’s (curator of Art in Clay) interesting talk on North Carolina earthenware; Rob Hunter’s (editor of Ceramics in America) entertaining and funny lecture on his top ten discoveries published in Ceramics in America; Mel Buchanan’s (Milwaukee Art Museum, assistant curator of 20th c. design) insight into Grete Marks’ ceramics; Ethan Lasser’s (Chipstone curator) new and innovative forms of curating; and Jon Prown (Chipstone’s director) lecture about a Toussaint L’Ouverture pitcher.

Art Curatorial

A Time When Modern Was “Degenerate”

This past weekend, I was proud to present a paper at the American Ceramic Circle’s annual symposium on an exhibition topic I’m developing. I spoke about a German designer named Grete Marks who made radical and beautiful ceramics—designs that the Nazi government called “degenerate.”

Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: Nov. 1–Nov. 7

Metdish Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–40. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 15 in. Private collection. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

This week, there are a lot of opportunities to experience the Museum, including an American Ceramics Circle Symposium; free admission for everyone on Thursday, November 4, and free admission for veterans on Saturday, November 6; a lecture with Luke Beckerdite on the Art In Clay exhibition on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.; and a European Design Since 1985 Express Talk.

This Thursday, November 4, is Target Free First Thursday. Admission to the Museum is FREE for everyone, thanks to Target. It’s a great opportunity to experience everything the Museum has to offer. And while you are here, be sure to experience the European Design Since 1985 Express Talk at 12 p.m.


From the Collection—English Posset Pot

This unusual form with an even odder name begs the question: what is a posset pot?

Posset pots were specially designed for the consumption of a warm, spiced drink popular from the Medieval period into the 19th century. The nourishing beverage, posset, was used to strengthen new mothers, the sick, or the elderly. Though it turns my stomach slightly to think of it, a good posset recipe should result in several layers caused by curdling.  The drink is made from milk beaten with eggs, sugar, and spices and curdled with ale or wine, but bread could be added to thicken it. The curdled milk rises to the top, the eggs create a custard mid-layer, and at the bottom is a warm spicy alcoholic drink, accessible only through the straw-like spout of a posset pot’s distinctive shape.