What a Crock

A recent gift of pottery leaves ASU's art museum wondering where to stack its wares

"Not so long ago, you could buy great work for less than $5,000," says Garth Clark. "Now it tends to cost over $10,000 and over $20,000 across the board. And when you get into the really special stuff, it can shoot way up." He recently sold a work by the late California ceramist Robert Arneson for $170,000, and another by Californian John Mason for $95,000.

Clark and others also point out that many museums around the nation are aggressively expanding and adding works to their ceramic collections, raising the competition for the best works.

The L.A. County Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design all have received substantial gifts of ceramics collections.

Other museums dedicated to ceramics and crafts will be going up at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, and in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Craft experts agree that this mini-boom reflects the maturation both in the producers and collectors of the studio crafts that have thrived in the past 50 years.

The Davis gift is one small trickle from that.
Elsewhere in the nation, says Mark Leach, "There are so many collectors who have reached that point in their careers where they're beginning to consider what to do with their works. What that means is that we're on the cusp of a new period of philanthropy in studio crafts and other areas. And museums that plan for it will be in a position in the coming years to develop some extraordinary collections."

Contact Edward Lebow at his online address: elebow @newtimes.com

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