SWET Talk Shop via Zoom: Transmitting Stories of Contemporary Japanese Ceramics

Louise Cort with Alice and Halsey North
Moderator: Zackary Kaplan

Date: Saturday, July 30, 2022 (JST)
Time: 8:00–10:00 a.m. JST; July 29, 2022; 7:00 p.m. EDT

Speaking from the U.S. East Coast, SWET member Louise Cort introduced her friends and colleagues Alice and Halsey North, who are pioneering collectors and patrons of contemporary Japanese ceramics. The three, who have been writing about and connecting with makers of Japanese ceramics for decades, recently published Listening to Clay: Conversations with Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Artists.

SWET members asked the authors to elaborate on their experiences introducing Japanese ceramic artists to North American audiences, and share their stories and insights on how collaboration via the Internet could be achieved despite the restrictions of the pandemic.

Alice and Halsey North are leading collectors and patrons of contemporary Japanese ceramics. Since 1994, they have worked with curators from the National Museum of Asian Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to research, document, and contextualize their collection. A primary focus of their collecting and advocacy has been to introduce new audiences to this art form. They have donated ceramics from their collection to numerous museums, notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met also houses the database, archives, and library for their collection.

Louise Allison Cort is Curator Emerita of Ceramics, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution. Her research interests are historical and contemporary ceramics in Japan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Her publications include Shigaraki, Potters’ Valley (1979, reprinted in 2000), Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics: A Close Embrace of the Earth (with Bert Winther-Tamaki, 2003), and Chigasu and the Art of Tea (with Andrea Watsky, 2014). In 2012, she received the Secretary’s Distinguished Scholar Award, Smithsonian Institution, and the Koyama Fujio Memorial Price for research on historical and contemporary Japanese ceramics.