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Living with Pots: Ceramics from the Eric Dean and Todd Thelen Collection

August 15, 2015 - April 10, 2016

Peter Beasecker, Double Vase, 2008, stoneware, 13 x 15 x 8 inches, courtesy of the collectors. L2015.151
Eric Dean and Todd Thelen have been collecting ceramics seriously for a dozen years and over that time have amassed a collection of more than 2,000 pieces, representing some of the most important names in the field of ceramics.  Their home in Iowa City is filled with these pots, which inspired the title of this exhibition, Living with Pots.

While the Dean/Thelen collection is international in nature, its greatest strength is in pots by Iowa and Midwestern artists, with certain artists featured prominently in their holdings, notably Warren MacKenzie, Clary Illian, Chuck Hindes, and Ron Meyers.  One area of great depth is their collection of yunomi and chawan—tea cups and tea bowls—which number in excess of 800.  For that reason, one of the two galleries presenting this selection from their collection is dedicated to those works.  With this as an anchor to the presentation, the rest of the installation is organized by function and demonstrates the range and breadth of their collecting interests.  

For those well-versed in the history of studio ceramics and those new to it, this exhibition reveals the possibilities, creativity, and playfulness of potters everywhere.  One can learn much about the creative range of pottery or simply enjoy the visual pleasure pottery can bring to everyday life.

This exhibition is made possible by the Hotel-Motel Tax Fund, the Program Grant Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Rockwell Collins, the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, members of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and contributors to the Museum’s Annual Fund.


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