Jan 20–Mar 25, 2007

Nicole Cherubini


Nicole Cherubini, 2007

Nicole Cherubini, 2007, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.

Nicole Cherubini (b. 1970, Boston, Massachusetts; lives New York), takes clay to a level that would leave any traditional ceramicist faint with dismay. Cherubini declassifies her artforms by responding to a range of qualities inherent in her medium. Her ceramics reflect on both history and popular culture. The constant attention to affluence and the importance of material wealth that is endemic to American culture is reflected in the size, surface, and color of her ceramic pieces. Featuring four new works, Nicole Cherubini’s work will be on view in ICA’s Project Space January 20–March 25, 2007.

Hand-built from flat little clumps, useless (they are full of holes), and over-scaled, these vessels, or G-Pots as they are called, are glazed repeatedly to create a seductive richness of hue. They are built in layers, from the bottom-up, then glazed with different colors, sometimes carefully applied, other times dripping and messy. The sculptures are then festooned with all manner of baroque appliqué or “bling”: garishly dyed furs, fake gold rings, silver chains—surprising elements that make them willfully exotic in their array of materials. Some pots are barnacled with ceramic gem shapes that spout in all directions.

Where things get really interesting is the manner of display. The pedestals on which the pots sit are very much a part of the work. Where the pots are over-the-top decorative, the pedestals are mucky minimalism. Made from materials such as steel rod, plywood, Plexiglass, pine, and painted foam, these individualized plinths, made especially to suit each pot, create a carefully-honed balance between object and support. The balance of elements in Cherubini’s work pushes the precipices of taste and tradition nearly over the top.
Nicole Cherubini

ICA acknowledges funding provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation, Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. ICA is also grateful for inkind support from Loews Philadelphia Hotel.