August 1, 2022
Listening to Clay: Conversations with Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Artists. By Alice North, Halsey North, and Louise Allison Cort. New York: Monacelli, 2022.
With few exceptions, until the publication of Listening to Clay: Conversations with Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Artists, English readers have lacked access to interviews of Japanese ceramists. Over the course of the past fifteen years, Alice North, Halsey North, and Louise Allison Cort recorded talks with sixteen renowned Japanese ceramists. The artists’ translated words, along with those of five dealers, offer biographical portraits and a range of insights into this dynamic field. The interviewees speak with remarkable openness, made possible by their relationships with the authors. Leaders in performing arts management, Alice and Halsey North began collecting contemporary Japanese ceramics in 1986. Their notable collection is now in several museums, primarily The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Author of many books and articles on Japanese ceramics, Louise Allison Cort is Curator Emerita of Ceramics at the National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution. The authors began taping conversations with artists in 2007, followed by further dialogues as recently as 2019. Each artist’s section contains portions of interviews from this time span with images of their sculptures and vessels. Readers gain access to compelling stories of upbringing, training, work processes, exhibition histories, and more. Listening to Clay provides a window into Japanese ceramics; the personal accounts of overcoming adversity and achieving success are inspirational....