Charles Simonds

Only one post for today. We have a piece of equipment that has been broken for a long time and is finally up and running, so I have to take advantage of it.
Last week we were in grad reviews, and I committed a blunder. Full disclosure, I am really bad with names. If you have had me as a teacher, please don't take offense if some day down the road and I bump into you, if I don't remember your name. I will remember you, just not your name. Unfortunately this problem also applies to Artists too.
I was standing around with Anne Currier and Wayne Higby and we were discusing a student's work. Anne, said that she was thinking about Charles Simonds, and I nodded politely as I racked my brain trying to place the work to the name. I came up blank, so I responded, "It really makes me think of the guy who builds tiny villages in creavaces..." "You mean Charles Simonds." Replied Anne..." Yeahhhhhhh" groaned I.
So as penance, Here is my post dedicated to Charles Simonds.
Simonds is known for these little villages that he started making around the Lower East Side in the 70's. He made them from a clay deposit he found that was the same clay that was used to make much of the bricks for the building in NYC.
The urban landscapes were built in hidden places around the city, often using vacated lots, or creavaces in building to construct upon. But they are always built with out residents, leaving the archeological record of presence without the occupants.
This picture I found on Google, but as soon as I clicked the link I recognized the blog is from one of our own Alfred Students, Michael Stevenson. We don't know each other, but I recognized you. So thanks for the pic.
This is the only piece of Simonds that I have seen in person. I came across it quite unexpectedly a few years ago, and I was really charmed by it presence and execution. I won't say exactly where it is as I would like for you to discover it yourself. What I will say in the form of a terrible riddle.
If in the City of New York, on every other year. Avoid the big to do and always take the stairs.

I think I am going to try to do more posts on who I think are great ceramic artists. Of course me being me, I am going to have to throw a few stones. Much like when Garth Clark came to Alfred, when I was an undergrad and did a lecture on the 5 most important pieces of ceramic art. Read the talk here.
The list was
1) Fountain-Marcel Duchamp
2) Object (Breakfast in Fur)-Multi-handled Mug
3) Multi-handled Mug- George E. Ohr
4) Casa Batlló-Antonio Gaudí'
5) Teapot-Kazimir Malevich

Of course, the thing to note is that only one of the objects was made by a Ceramicist.
Clark's point was to throw stones, but he is not wholly incorrect in his postulation that, a lot of what is revered in ceramics is irrelevant, and that a lot of what is great about ceramics is ignored by the ceramics community. So I am not going to talk about Voukous, or Soldner. I met both of them and they are very nice people, but, they are not taking part in the conversations that I want to have. I want to talk about people that throw stones.
I hope that Mr. Clark appreciates that he had a lot of influence on this one 20 year old student in that lecture.

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