Pots for the People

Sacramento's Crocker Museum focuses on pioneering ceramicist Warren MacKenzie
Pots for the People

Even people who don't care about pots should care about Warren MacKenzie, whose art represents the truest aspects of modernism—simplicity, lack of pretension, focus on function, and the idea that well-made objects should be affordable.

'The Shape of Things: Warren MacKenzie Ceramics,' an exhibition focusing on MacKenzie's deceptively simple pottery, runs November 10 through February 23 at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. MacKenzie, 89 and still working, will join a gallery tour 2 p.m. Sunday, November 10.

MacKenzie, who lives in Minnesota, came of age as a potter in the early 1950s. Today he's seen as a father of the studio craft movement, curator Diana Daniels says.

Although his works were all for use—for years MacKenzie sold his wares for $5 and $10 through the honor system at an unmanned table—he strove for personal expression, "which could occur either in the concept of the pot or in the physical making of the pot," MacKenzie told an oral historian.

"They may not seem glamorous at your first approach," Daniels says of MacKenzie's pots and vessels. "You live with them a while, you touch and handle them, they are just so appealing. He wants you to stop and look and be aware of the moment you are in."

For more on Crocker's Warren MacKenzie exhibition, click here.