Winter 2015
Skip to content
Editor's Notes

An Introduction

Sudek's Studio by Josef Sudek, 1938

Sudek’s Studio by Josef Sudek, 1938

If Booth Ceramics can in fact be, at full capacity, an impossible combination of photograph, still life, and museum as I proposed in my statement about its purpose, then I hope this journal can be a window to the world surrounding and beyond the art and objects it features—a window to the arcane—to repressed history, undervalued traditions, and underrepresented or yet to be discovered artists. I also hope that this journal will reveal new understandings of and relationships between the work of artists and artistic movements that have perhaps been overexposed and as a result are too narrowly defined today or quickly dismissed as uninteresting.

The articles presented in this journal, which in the next issue will also be by other academics, experts, and artists—not only myself, will never be overly critical or didactic but will, however, always be in one way or another politically engaged. My message is that much of the world has not yet been explored and that what we think we know may still surprise us. The ultimate aim of this journal is strengthened belief in the worthiness of the artistic life or pursuit of life which has not only shaped sacred landscapes and built inspiring cities but enhanced the experience of the everyday and the meditative aspects of base survival. This impossible goal I approach in this first issue by presenting four short articles on: a rural village in Turkey made of rock, the brief disappearance and reappearance of a photographer who took pictures out his window (see his studio above), the recent history of painting on plates and bowls, and one principle defining the work of an architect whose oeuvre barely extends beyond the city in which he was born.

It is only recently that I have taken more than a subtle interest in the applied arts, and it should be no secret that I learn as I write. I did study art history at the Sorbonne, architecture at Yale and the American Academy of Rome, and I worked at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in New York—I am fairly knowledgeable of painting and architecture, but I have not thrown a pot since I was a teenager, and even then, I am not sure that anything made it off the wheel. I am far from an expert in ceramics, but I have a feeling this medium to which we are literally attached in its raw form will take me all over the world as my curiosity seems only to propagate the more I learn. I am looking forward to traveling and learning from experts and artists from Kyoto to London to L.A. about this venerable, versatile material.

Photography is slightly easier for me to write on, as I lived and breathed the work of major photographers while organizing several gallery and museum exhibitions in the past few years, but it still fascinates me as it would a child or someone in contact with the first camera ever made, each day, every day. I am constantly humbled by my ignorance in contrast to the innate comprehension of the talented photographers I have worked with and whom I call friends. Their eyes seem to see with more clarity light and dark, space and emptiness, and the possibilities of transforming the range of these dichotomies through lenses, in the darkroom, and digitally. Again, I have tried and will always try to write and present these articles, without pretense, in hope to inspire more research, the illumination of history and the obscure, and the reinvention of the known.

—Ashley Booth Klein