Alex Reed, International Ceramics Friendship Park
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Alex Reed
International Ceramics Friendship Park
September 12 – October 27 2019

ICFP, Tile Border Detail

International Ceramics Friendship Park is a proposal for an urbanism resulting from an imagined future: one that suggests a built environment in which craftspeople have seized the means of production and representation of their own work and bodies. ICFP is a model city complete with cooperative housing, pensioner’s tower, monument, mausoleum, pool, hedgemaze, and communal kiln. The various objects that share this space with the site model are the imagined handiwork of the residents of this notional utopia.

— Alex Reed

ICFP Overview

Speculative Future Urbanism

“International Ceramics Friendship Park” features a new body of work by Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Alex Reed. Comprising several design objects and a large-scale architectural model, Reed’s work prompts a joyful yet critical examination of the role of craft practices in contemporary society, and mines their potential to spark political imagination.

The exhibition’s centerpiece—the Friendship Park of the show’s title—is a 4.0 × 4.0-ft., 1:100-scale architectural model posited as urban masterplan. Civic landmarks like the Potters’ Pension & Trust Tower and the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsperson are displayed in miniature, rendered in a variety of materials common to both the ceramics studio and the practice of architectural model-making. Viewers are encouraged to imagine a grand proposal for a speculative future urbanism in which craftspeople have seized the means of production and representation of their work and bodies.

Complementing the Park itself are a series of domestically-scaled ceramic objects installed throughout the gallery. Ceramic puzzles, functional sculptures, and a display of glaze-test tiles from the artist’s studio offer practical and immediate ways for the viewer to engage, contemplate, and activate the possibilities of Reed’s imagined utopia. With a welcoming sense of levity accompanied by formal exploration, Reed adopts the Modernist Urban Plan to propose new ways to celebrate and honor the craftsperson’s labor and contribution to culture.

Alex Reed’s work spans independent studio production and ceramic design for industry. Whether fabricating speculative utopias or designing and producing functional and decorative objects, his work utilizes rigorous craft training and technical insights from a background in commercial manufacturing. Reed has recently shown work at the MAK Center Los Angeles, Craft Contemporary, and with The Future Perfect; he is currently the artist-in-residence at Owl Bureau (Highland Park, L.A.). ICFP is Reed’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.

Installation View, Scholar Stones

The artist pouring molds in his Los Angeles studio

Scholar Stone No. 1
2019
Ceramic
9.0 H × 6.0 W × 6.0 D in.

Available

Scholar Stone No. 2
2019
Ceramic
9.0 H × 6.0 W × 6.0 D in.

Available

Scholar Stone No. 3
2019
Ceramic
9.0 H × 6.0 W × 6.0 D in.

Scholar Stone No. 4
2019
Ceramic
9.0 H × 6.0 W × 6.0 D in.

Scholar Stone No. 5
2019
Ceramic
9.0 H × 6.0 W × 6.0 D in.

Available

ICFP, tile edge detail

“Knowing potters, this community would be highly attuned to its own history. They would perhaps regard an obscure pantheon of past makers with something like religious awe. There is a memorial to Jules Agard, who helped Picasso make ceramics in Vallauris; a kiln-heated pool, dedicated to the avant-garde Japanese movement Sodeisha (literally, ‘crawling through mud’); and a tomb [dedicated] to the Unknown Craftsperson, the anonymous figure who served as the absent but beating heart of Soetsu Yanagi’s ‘mingei’ movement. A great pile of shards serves as a reminder that craft ain’t perfect; that every potter’s life will be full of wasters.”

— Glenn Adamson on Alex Reed’s ICFP

Master potters on Reed’s pin-board

Mock-up for test-tile postcard Edition

Exhibition view, West wall

Installation detail, West wall

ICFP, installation view

Puzzle No. 2 (Small, Pink)
2019–20
Ceramic, Walnut
14.0 L × 10.0 W × 1.0 H

Available

Puzzle No. 2 (Small, Eggplant)
2019–20
Ceramic, Walnut
14.0 L × 10.0 W × 1.0 H in.

Available

Exhibition view, East wall Puzzle installation

Puzzle No. 2 (Small, Brown)
2019–20
Ceramic, Walnut
14.0 L × 10.0 W × 1.0 H in.

Available

Puzzle No. 2 (Small, Pink Crackle)
2019–20
Ceramic, Walnut
14.0 L × 10.0 D × 1.0 H in.

Available

Puzzle No. 1
(Large, Brown)
2019–20
Ceramic, Maple
19.0 L × 14.0 W × 1.0 H in.

Available

Puzzle No. 1
(Large, Green)
2019–20
Ceramic, Maple
19.0 L × 14.0 D × 1.0 H in.

Available

Puzzle No. 1 (Large, Pink Crackle)
2019–20
Ceramic, Maple
19.0 L × 14.0 D × 1.0 H in.

Available

Puzzle No. 1 (Large, Black)
2019–20
Ceramic, Maple
19.0 L × 14.0 W × 1.0 H in.

Available

International Ceramics Friendship Park, Installation View

Marta

Marta is a gallery that hosts works at the meeting points of art and design. Founded in Los Angeles in 2019, the gallery makes space for artists to experiment with the utility of design, and for designers to explore the occasional abandonment of function. Marta’s curatorial and publication programs take interest in both the process of an object’s creation as well the narrative of its creator(s). Marta embraces the intersection of disciplines, advocates for diversity in design, and promotes access to the arts.