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Jerry Caplan

Biography to Display: 

Born 1923 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Died 2004 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

EDUCATION

BFA Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

MFA Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1959-1988 Professor of Art, Chatham College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,

1962-1972 and 1983-1984 Chairman, Art Department, Chatham College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1961-2001 Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

 

BIOGRAPHY

Jerry Caplan is known for experimental multimedia sculpture utilizing clay, industrial ceramic pipes, metal hardware, etc., his invention of techniques and processes and his extensive teaching career.

Caplan served in the 84th Engineer Battalion, where he helped manufacture and photograph dummy boats, tanks, and other military machinery. Later, Caplan worked in the pipe industry which influenced his sculpture.

During his career Caplan experimented with many innovative techniques, such as sculptures which began as giant extruded pipes. To eliminate the tasks of scoring and applying slip, he  used metal nails to build ceramic sculptures. In a Ceramics Monthly article from May1989 he described this process as: “Using nails as a fastener instead of slip results in a much more spontaneous joint and allows one to literally ‘draw in the air’…nailing clay is not unlike nailing wood except that clay has tremendous plasticity and can be bent or warped[1].”

Caplan developed many processed for working with clay, one he named “reduction stenciling.” Utilizing the potential of the raku firing’s reduction process, he developed a stencil technique to control the black patterning on a clay surface.

As the son of Ukrainian Jewish Immigrants, Caplan was also recognized for his creative work with in the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

 



[1] Jerry Caplan, “Clay, Nails, and Smoke.” Ceramics Monthly. May 1989, pg. 76. https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/wpcontent/uploads/sites/6/2015/06/Ceramics_Monthly_jun92_cei0692d.pdf

 

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

 

 

 

Center for CraftCenter For Craft

 

 

AMOCA American Museum of Ceramic ArtAMOCA American Museum of Ceramic Art

 

Typical Marks

Inscribed “Caplan” in cursive, with the year.

1977
Bowl
Date: 1977
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze, Raku
American Museum of Ceramic Art 2004.2.113, gift of the American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art 2004.2.113, gift of the American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified March 21, 2022. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/caplan