February 20–July 14, 2013

New Blue and White

Discover contemporary interpretations of blue-and-white ceramics

"sumptuous, conceptually elegant show"—The Boston Globe

"Blue and white" means, at its simplest, cobalt pigment applied to white clay. Over the course of a millennium, blue-and-white porcelain has become one of the most recognized types of ceramic production worldwide. With roots in the Islamic world and Asia, and strong presence in Europe and the Americas, various cultures adapted blue-and-white, from the Willow pattern to isznik. Taking inspiration from global blue-and-white traditions, today’s artists continue the story, creating works that speak to contemporary ideas. They tackle diverse issues, ranging from the public (the political landscape, cross-cultural interchange), to the personal (family, memory, the act of collecting), to the aesthetic (abstraction, pattern, the role of decoration). “New Blue and White” explores the ways in which contemporary makers, working in ceramics as well as other media ranging from fiber to furniture to glass, have explored this rich body of material culture. An international selection of artists and designers is featured in the exhibition, and recent acquisitions of work by the ceramic sculptor Chris Antemann and fashion designers Rodarte are drawn from the MFA’s own collection.

Visitors can make connections between these contemporary statements and their remarkable historical predecessors. Illustrated labels thorught the exhibition provide some examples of blue and white ceramics currently on view—but there are many more. Discover blue and white porcelain in galleries across the Museum.

Above: Harumi Nakashima, Work 0808 (detail), 2008. Glazed stoneware. Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, New York. Photograph by Geoff Spear. Reproduced with permission.

  • Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)


Presented with generous support from The Wornick Fund for Contemporary Craft. Additional support provided by The John and Bette Cohen Fund for Contemporary Decorative Arts, and the Joel Alvord and Lisa Schmid Alvord Fund.