Jenni Sorkin, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will be speaking about the legacy of Bauhaus-trained potter Marguerite Wildenhain (American, b. France, 1896–1985). Drawing on Sorkin’s recently published book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community, the talk reframes Wildenhain’s legacy within the history of summer craft programs, functional pottery, gender bias, and craft pedagogies. Far from being an isolated field, ceramics as practiced by Wildenhain offered a sense of community and social engagement, which, Sorkin argues, crucially set the stage for later participatory forms of art and feminist collectivism. The talk will be followed by a book signing of Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community.
Jenni Sorkin, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. She has written numerous in-depth essays on feminist art and issues of gender. In May 2016, she gave a keynote address, along with Catherine de Zegher, at the international conference “Penetrable / Traversable / Habitable: Exploring spatial environments by women artists in the 1960s and 1970s,” held in Lisbon, Portugal, at the Centro de Arte Moderna, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Most recently, she co-curated, with Paul Schimmel, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016, the inaugural exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles, which ran from May to September 2016. Also in 2016, she published her first book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community (University of Chicago Press), which examines gender and postwar ceramics practice at Black Mountain and other utopian communities.