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Beatrice Wood
Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, California
Recommendation by Diane Calder


Beatrice Wood, 'Career Women,' 1990, earthenware, 19 1/2 x 12 1/2' Photo credit: Tony Cunha. Copyright Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts and Happy Valley Foundation

Continuing through March 3, 2012

“Chocolate and Young Men,” the title of a cheeky earthenware sculpture by the audacious Beatrice Wood, was also her answer to Dada scholar Francis Nauman’s question as to why she was wearing a sari when he interviewed her in Ojai. Nauman was seeking information about her early associations with Marcel Duchamp and avant-garde collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg. Although Indian philosophy and spirituality had its impact on Woods’ life and career, her sari was also prized as a distraction, designed to keep men from focusing on pounds added to her aging body from her obsessive consumption of chocolates. At first glance, the opulent luster glazes the centenarian invented for her miniature to over-sized ceramics might seem to have preformed a similar function. The shapes of most of her sensuously glazed vessels are not unique. But the sexually charged bulbous ornamentations affixed to many of her works, along with the with the revealing drawings and startling ceramic sculptures such as “Father Hagerty and His Candy Bars,” suggest that this bold, witty woman, over more than 75 years of art making, managed to stay in touch with issues of interest to us to this day.

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2011

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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