Skip to Content
A clay sculpture the color of goldenrod with the appearance of thick cloth wrapped up around a tall bowl and knotted at the top. A clay sculpture the color of goldenrod with the appearance of thick cloth wrapped up around a tall bowl and knotted at the top.

Radical Clay: Contemporary Women Artists from Japan

Exhibition

Share

Admission actions

Radical Clay celebrates 36 contemporary ceramic artists—all women—through 40 stunning, virtuosic pieces.

Since World War II, women have made influential contributions to the ceramics field in Japan that have not been adequately recognized. This exhibition focuses on the explosion of innovative and technically ambitious compositions by such artists since 1970—a body of work which they developed in parallel with, but often separately from, traditional, male-dominated Japanese practice and its countermovements.

A ceramic sculpture in a the shape of a long women's skirt standing up by itself, with a gathered waist at top in purple and a sculpted twine belt. The skirt has multiple segments resembling different patterns of cloth, with metallic gold at the bottom, a black geometric pattern in the middle, and a teal band toward the top.

Chinese-Brocade Ancient Skirt (唐織 裳), 2017


Tsuboi Asuka 坪井明日香

Both established and emerging artists with a range of styles are presented together to showcase their collective achievements and impact. Mishima Kimiyo (born 1932), Tsuboi Asuka (born 1932), and Ogawa Machiko (born 1946) began their careers decades ago and continue to produce groundbreaking sculpture that pushes the limits of the clay medium.

Konno Tomoko (born 1967), Aoki Katsuyo (born 1972), and Oishi Sayaka (born 1979) are part of younger generations and are represented by thematic groupings ranging from bodily distortion to fantastical decoration. While all of these women have routinely confronted expectations about their practice, they have frequently responded by refusing gender-imposed constraints, whether by approaching traditionally “feminine” subjects—such as flowers—in unconventional ways or by creating so-called “masculine” works, such as large, geological forms.

All of the selected pieces are from the exemplary collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, who are thrilled to bring these artists to global attention.

Radical Clay: Contemporary Women Artists from Japan is curated by Janice Katz, Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art, the Art Institute of Chicago.

Catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with essays by Katz, Joe Earle, and Hollis Goodall. Learn more.

Sponsors

Lead support for Radical Clay: Contemporary Women Artists from Japan is generously provided by Carol & Jeffrey Horvitz.

Additional support is contributed by the Japan Foundation.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share