The Mingei Tradition in the Midwest: Warren MacKenzie and Beyond

January 26, 2014 - March 30, 2014

Warren MacKenzie (American, b. 1924) 
Lidded Container, 2012 
Stoneware with Shino glaze 
9 x 7 1/2 in. diameter (22.86 x 19.05 cm) 
Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Katherine Duff Rines M2012.497a,b
Photo credit John R. Glembin
Warren MacKenzie (American, b. 1924)
Lidded Container, 2012
Stoneware with Shino glaze
9 x 7 1/2 in. diameter (22.86 x 19.05 cm)
Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Katherine Duff Rines
Photo credit John R. Glembin

Reception: Thursday, March 20, 2014, 5-8 pm

Listen to Lynden's executive director discuss the exhibition on WUWM here.

Read a post about the exhibit on the NCECA blog here.

Read a review of the exhibition by Kat Murrell of ThirdCoast Daily here.

From its inception, Mingei ceramic practice has had an ambivalent relationship with the notion of the master. The early Mingei manifestos drew on the belief of John Ruskin and William Morris in the transformative power of simple, beautiful, functional, objects, but they located these essential forms in an anonymous folk memory. Nonetheless, master potters like Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach—who served as a conduit between British and Japanese potters—were extremely influential and the individuality of their work was highly prized.

Warren MacKenzie left Minnesota for St. Ives in the late ‘40s to apprentice himself to Leach, and on his return established a ceramics program at the University of Minnesota, and a pottery of his own, that became the nucleus of a Midwestern Mingei tradition. An undisputed master, MacKenzie has hewn closely to many of the original Mingei ideals, living a simple life, sitting at his wheel every day, producing an infinite series of variations on a small repertoire of functional forms.

This exhibition, organized by Lynden’s Executive Director Polly Morris and ceramicist Linda Wervey Vitamvas in conjunction with the 2014 NCECA conference, focuses on the Mingei tradition in the Midwest, and is built outward from MacKenzie’s work. The exhibition will include work by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, as well as pieces by Randy Johnston, Jan McKeachie Johnston and Mark Pharis, three ceramicists trained or influenced by MacKenzie who have made creative adaptations to the living tradition as it continues to thrive in the Midwest.


©2010 Lynden Sculpture Garden