Ceramicidal Tendencies: The Intersection of Punk and Clay

Presented by Bunker Projects at Mr. Roboto

Since coalescing in the urban areas of New York and London, punk music and culture has influenced countless musicians, visual artists, fashion designers, and political activists across the globe.

The ideologies that punk were founded upon some 40 years ago still resonate today, and in some ways are reinvigorating society to rise up against the current political establishment. As the socioeconomic, racial, and gender inequality of the 1950s and 1960s became more pronounced, young musicians and activists coming of age in the 1970s and 1980s banded together to repudiate the societal norms and excesses of the times. As a result, punk began to address the ideas of personal isolation and rejection by mainstream society. It allowed for the open criticism of broken systems through the expression of anger, confusion, and the idea that conformity is not mandatory. Living on the fringe of society necessitated the adoption of a DIY ethos to support the burgeoning network of punk tribes. These basic tenants of punk culture have not only survived to present day, but are thriving. As the current political climate evolves, human rights are challenged and peoples are silenced; punk ideas and artwork have again begun to assert their voices in opposition.

This show brings together a diverse collection of ceramic artists, each of whom are deeply influenced by this sophisticated and complicated subculture. Furthermore, punk music and culture has profoundly impacted the world of ceramics that cannot be denied. Involvement in the do-it-yourself (DIY) punk scene has provided these makers the necessary tools to operate within a medium that is often seen as residing on the periphery of the Art World. Like punk rock, these works can be loud, aggressive, challenging, engaging, and ultimately exciting. The DIY philosophy is echoed in much of the effort these ceramic artists undertake in community building, social activism, and self discovery. This show is as much about acknowledging the ceramic works these artists make as well as celebrating the music that influenced their development into the culture leaders they are today.

Chris Chaney
March 2018