Since coming on as director of the Art Students League of Denver (200 Grant Street, 303-778-6990), Leona Lazar has been on a campaign to expand and diversify the art school's programs beyond its mainstay of painting classes. One of the new programs is ceramics. "Last summer, we became very serious about starting a clay program," says Lazar. "But the equipment costs big bucks, which we don't have." Well-known ceramic artists Barry Rose and Peter Durst came to the rescue by soliciting for donations of wheels, kilns and just about everything else. Durst also secured a grant to cover operating expenses for two years from his family's Durst Foundation.
To inaugurate the new department, ASLD is presenting its first invitational exhibition, Clay + Clay +, which is crowded with pieces by some of the most respected names in contemporary ceramics in the region. There are numerous standouts. Inside the front door is a spectacular, monumental vessel in a sumptuous turquoise glaze by the world-famous potter Nan McKinnell. Opposite is a marvelous two-part composition in celadon by Mary Cay, and a fanatically elaborate piece by Jim Lorio. Ahead is "Red Nike," by Martha Daniels, a winged, headless figure previously seen in her solo show at the William Havu Gallery. Upstairs, there's a very cool Judith Cohn stacked stile and an elegant Rodger Lang double-gourd vase. Doug Fey and Blair Meerfeld contributed choice pieces, along with a raft of others.
Organized by Rose and Durst, the show also includes some of their work. Rose's "A Little Boat on the Sea," a groovy abstract wall plaque, is seen above. Although the show is admittedly unfocused and incoherent, this is still one of the best ceramic group exhibitions to be presented in over a year.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.