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Birthday party for Harrison McIntosh at 95 and AMOCA at 5

August 4, 2009 |  7:00 am

McIntosh In a flood of mail announcing this fall's exhibitions, here comes a public invitation to a dual birthday party. "Harrison McIntosh: A Timeless Legacy," Sept. 12 through Jan. 9 at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, will celebrate the 95th birthday of a potter known as a virtuoso of pure form and the fifth anniversary of a Pomona outpost that has established itself as a go-to place for clay lovers.

The show will track the career of a Southern California artist who since the 1940s has remained faithful to his belief in the power of simple elegance. While other artists, including colleagues such as Peter Voulkos, pushed clay into the arena of ruggedly expressive sculpture, Harrison McIntosh developed a distinctively personal aesthetic of refinement, attuned to a philosophy that emphasized technique, design and a mastery of glazes. His trademark pieces are symmetrical vessels and spheres with sensuously curved contours, smooth surfaces and satin-like glazes in soft colors.

Slowly but surely, examples of his work have joined the collections of about three dozen museums, including the Louvre's Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, the Belgian Royal Collection in Ostend, the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

McIntosh3The American Museum of Ceramic Art is the creation of David Armstrong, a Pomona businessman and ceramic artist who opened his dream showcase in 2004 with an exhibition of works by Paul Soldner.  Located in a historic district of downtown Pomona, the museum has a mission of "presenting, collecting and preserving significant ceramic achievement of the world's cultures from ancient times to the present."

The McIntosh event, to be accompanied by an illustrated catalog, is the latest addition to AMOCA's list of exhibitions honoring groups of like-minded artists or highly accomplished individuals, including Voulkos, George Ohr, Steve Tobin and David Furman.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Glazed stoneware by Harrison McIntosh. Credit: Courtesy of American Museum of Ceramic Art