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James Turrell, Nicholas Mosse, and William Burke
Lapsed Quaker Ware

 

  • Exhibition

  • On view through October 2022
  • B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building

This series of black basalt tableware is a collaboration between James Turrell and Irish potter Nicholas Mosse of Kilkenny, Ireland. The pottery was inspired by the work of the innovative English potter, Josiah Wedgwood, who made very decorative black basalt ware for the general English market in the 18th century, and also created a simpler version for the Quakers, particularly for the American market. Turrell, who was raised a Quaker, has memories of the pottery from his grandmother’s home.

While spending time in Ireland in the 1990s, Turrell was introduced to Mosse, who like Turrell was a lapsed Quaker, and the two set out to revive the more restrained, surprisingly modern-looking Wedgwood tradition. The basalt they used to make the vessels—a volcanic rock—is sourced from Turrell’s Roden Crater, a monumental artwork located in a dormant volcanic cinder cone in Arizona’s Painted Desert region.

The pottery is presented on tables, sideboards, and cabinets designed in collaboration with furniture maker William Burke of Flagstaff, Arizona, and made in the cherry wood favored by the Quakers. The chairs by Thomas Moser are a refinement of the Quaker versions of the English Windsor chair that came to be popular in the U.S. in the late Colonial period. The black of the vessels and the red of the wood recall the hues of the cinder at the Crater where the tableware will be used by visitors.

A presentation of Lapsed Quaker Ware is also on view at Hancock Shaker Village just down the road in Pittsfield, MA.

 

Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery.
Photo: J. Arnold, Impart Photography

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