February 22, 2021 - August 29, 2021

The Met Fifth Avenue

Gallery913 | Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York, NY

February 22nd – August 29th, 2021

Shapes from Out of Nowhere: Ceramics from the Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection celebrates an extraordinary gift of 125 modern and contemporary ceramics from Robert A. Ellison Jr., made to The Met in honor of the Museum’s 150th anniversary. The exhibition will present a selection of over 75 works from this unparalleled collection that charts the evolution of abstraction in clay from the second half of the twentieth century through the present.

Five total works by Raymon Elozua are included in the permanent collection, three of which will be on view during the exhibition.

Artists include: Robert Arneson, Rudy Autio, F. Carlton Ball, Lynda Benglis, Kate Blacklock, Nina Borgia-Aberle, Alison Britton, Kathy Butterly, Peter Callas, Syd Carpenter, Christina Carver, Katherine Choy, Dieter Crumbiegel, Elisa D’Arrigo, Harris Deller, Richard DeVore, Kim Dickey, Gary DiPasquale, Ruth Duckworth, Raymon Elozua, Gary Erickson, Ken Ferguson, Amara Geffen, John Gill, Chris Gustin, Babs Haenen, Ewen Henderson, Wayne Higby, Margaret Israel, Howard Kottler, Anne Marie Laureys, Gareth Mason, John Mason, Leza McVey, Jim Melchert, Ursula Morley Price, Gertrud Natzler, Otto Natzler, Win Ng, William Parry, Ken Price, Aneta Regel, Mary Rogers, Stanley Rosen, Axel Salto, Paul Soldner, Rudofl Staffel, Chris Staley, Susanna Stephenson, Toshiko Takaezu, Kyoto Tonegawa, Robert Turner, Peter Voulkos, Frans Wildenhain, Marguerite Wildenhain, Betty Woodman, William Wyman and Arnold Zimmerman.

“I first met Bob Ellison at the Everson Ceramic National in 1993. At that time I did not know of his many accomplishments as a painter, photographer, writer and collector. Bob lived several blocks away and on my first visit I learned of his passion for all things ceramic, American art pottery, contemporary ceramics and above all the work of George Ohr. I felt privileged that Bob acquired several works of mine for his collection. Over the years it has been a pleasure to talk about contemporary ceramics, view his recent acquisitions, and trade bottles of wine. As well, Bob has also been a major influence for me to improve my photography skills.” Raymon Elozua

The related publication Shapes from Out of Nowhere: Ceramics from the Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection, published by August Editions, is a lavishly illustrated catalogue including essays by Glenn Adamson and Robert A. Ellison Jr., artist biographies by Elizabeth Essner, and an introduction by Adrienne Spinozzi.

“In 1988, Harry Dennis, the publisher of American Ceramics magazine, held an all-day symposium on ceramics, entitled “The Art of Collecting.” There were panels consisting of artists, curators, writers, critics, collectors, and gallery owners. I attended. Despite the rich diversity of the participants, the talk droned on and on and on. One of the last people to speak was the artist Raymon Elozua, whom I had never heard of before. His words were like uninsulated electricity. He woke us up (at least me), telling everyone how boring it had been (which was true) and what they should have been talking about. I was determined to know this artist.

In 1993, the Everson Museum of Art invited me to be a juror for the 29th Ceramic National exhibition. A wire-frame “teapot” by Raymon Elozua had been accepted for the exhibition. At the reception after the show, Raymon introduced himself. At last, after hearing him speak at the symposium a few years earlier, we got together in New York City; we have been fast friends ever since. Raymon has been an important influence in loosening up some of my rigid thinking concerning clay. Obsessed with decay and destruction, he has created work by destroying and then reconstructing pots by attaching shared to facsimile angle irons made of clay to create sculpture (FIG. 23). In more recent work, he has used his skill in welding to create shapes with a wire armature while adding bits of clay and glaze to the steel and firing them in a kiln. His forms have become totally abstract, not a recognizable shape in sight. He is a rare combination, not only capable of thinking very abstractly but also a fine craftsman.”

– Robert A. Ellison Jr.

“With this most recent donation of modern and contemporary ceramics, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has acquired over six hundred works from Robert A. Ellison Jr., a remarkable legacy for this pioneering collector with an unparalleled vision. In scope, depth, and quality, his gifts have forever redefined the holdings of this institution while expanding our understanding of and appreciation for the ceramic arts. This recent landmark gift, and the accompanying exhibition and book, is no different in significance: only a collector with such innate knowledge of the medium could chart the path towards abstraction in clay.”

– Adrienne Spinozzi, Assistant Research Curator in the American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art