Extra Good Showing - DETAIL
Extra Good Showing - DETAIL
clay, watercolor paper
Courtesy of Nathan Lynch Origin Stories // Berkeley Art Center // Image credit Felix Quintana

Extra Good Showing is a performance piece by Kari Marboe where participants sculpt clay based on 1900s correspondence between the the architect Julia Morgan and the architectural tile company Gladding, McBean & Co. of Lincoln, California. With each direction given during this fifteen minute piece, the participants will engage with a past form of correspondence, connect with a site specific material, and perform an archive. The text was researched at the California State Library’s California History Section and edited by the artist. The clay was gathered from Lincoln, California.

Today we will be performing the archived correspondence, which is in the form of
INTER-OFFICE MEMORANDA, and connect to the same clay body as was used for this project.

I am performing the role of the writer,
the San Francisco office of Gladding, McBean & Co.
I am the middle person between Julia Morgan’s office and you,
the Gladding, McBean & Co. Lincoln, CA office.
You are the fabricators and the factory.
Let's begin.

October 7, 1927
We are returning the Terra Cotta drawing sheet 1/1, THE LILY FEATURED ON THE TILE, which has been approved by the architect without change.
We also expect to have the color and finish decided by the time you receive the detail.

Please sculpt the petal of a lily for a prototype
It should be very simple and formal

Use your thumbs to push out the shape
Curve the petal to the left, slightly

Imagine a tile full of lilies and foliage

Please hold up your lily petals for inspection
Curve the petal to the left, slightly.

Curated by Tanya Zimbardo

Ebitenyefa Baralaye, Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik and María Inés Leal García, The Brick Factory, Ilana Crispi, Futurefarmers, Nicki Green, Dana Hemenway, Kari Marboe, Mutual Stores, Stephanie Syjuco

Spanning the past decade, Origin Stories: Expanded Ceramics in the Bay Area surveys key works by 10 artists and artist groups who consider ceramics in relation to site and place. Select works trace where material comes from in the landscape, while others investigate histories of ceramic production and the movement of objects across international borders.

We begin with works by Kari Marboe and Dana Hemenway that playfully encourage close looking and are installed in relation to the Berkeley Art Center’s unique building. The show moves outward to cultural subjects associated with Berkeley and California, to works first performed in the environment of artists’ neighborhoods, or developed through artist residency programs in the Bay Area.

This exhibition foregrounds the contributions of both interdisciplinary artists and artists who primarily work with clay to a larger and vibrant contemporary field. Several artists bring a conceptually driven approach to functional ceramics, embracing the potential to invite participation and community engagement. For Ilana Crispi and Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik & María Inés Leal García, conversation over tea becomes a vehicle for sharing the story of place.


The cup. The brick. Some of the oldest and simplest forms are employed here in different ways. The show is centered on works that are about ceramics itself, moving beyond the traditional capacity of ceramic sculpture to portray something or someone. They draw attention to the basic elements and conditions behind the medium, from the apparatus of the kiln to the byproduct of ceramic waste.

From the collectives Futurefarmers to Mutual Stores, this show highlights the role of collaboration and artist publications as significant forms of expression. The expanded field represented here often embraces the idea of multiple formats and modes of distribution, in-person and online. Certain multiyear projects will continue to unfold and inhabit different spaces.

Several of the artists are not only contemporaries, but taught or studied with one another during the past decade. Related virtual public programs will not only illuminate artist processes, but discuss teaching and making work during a global pandemic. It has been a particularly challenging moment for an inherently communal medium. For the closing weekend, we will host a Bay Area Cup Swap outside the gallery in neighboring Live Oak Park, offering an opportunity for a lively and socially distant form of exchange, open to all makers.

—Tanya Zimbardo, Guest Curator