Urban Clay

I TEACH CERAMICS AT CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY IN MONTREAL which holds one of the most diverse public art collections of any university in Canada. The collection contains 33 works, yet only a small portion of a single work is made of clay, in the form of tile. The same can be said of the larger field of public art where we find few projects in ceramics, outside of tile. Why is public art so rarely made with ceramics? Moreover, how is it that clay, an infinitely malleable material, only usually shows up as industrially formed tile in public art? How might ceramics connect materially with the city to shift our experience of it? Can this traditionally craft based medium offer a new perspective in public art?Questions such as these led to me to develop a new course at Concordia called Urban Clay. In this class, students use ceramics to create site-specific public art installations on the urban campus.

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