Michael Simon: A Life in Pots

MARCH 12 – MAY 1, 2011
Main Gallery

This exhibition included pots from over 30 years of making, by noted American potter, Michael Simon. Starting early in his career, Simon selected one or two pots from each firing that he felt were particularly good or interesting.  The exhibition featured a selection of those pots, and thus offered a wonderful look at the development of an American potter who was enormously influential in the last third of the 20th century, and whose work is now avidly collected, when available, by museums and individuals. 

Simon stated this about his work: “The source of my work is found in the role that pots perform within the household. Largely, this means food preparation, serving and storage, but a sliding scale does exist between function and expression….  The various formats—cups, bowls, pitchers, jars—advance in constant evolution.  Change proceeds slowly and subtly, but the growth carries on and is most satisfying….  Slow progress comes into view in the development of the work in total, not the beauty of any one pot.  There is no end.” (from Michael Simon: Evolution)

The exhibition was accompanied by NCC’s publication of an elegant book—Michael Simon: Evolution.  The book, which is lavishly illustrated with color images of Simon’s pots, includes a foreword by Warren MacKenzie, essays by Mark Pharis and Glen Brown, and the edited transcript of Simon’s interview with Mark Shapiro that originally appeared in The Studio Potter magazine.  It also includes reflections by Simon on his forms, his craft and his life, along with biographical material and photos of many of the pots.  The book was edited and designed by Susan Stokes Roberts, and is distributed by the University of North Carolina Press. 

On Sunday, March 13, 2011, from 1 to 3 pm, there was a conversation among Michael Simon and the participants in the Classmates exhibition, about the development of their respective work and careers.  The event was free, in the InFlux Room at the Regis Center at the University of Minnesota.