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James (Jim) Melchert

Biography to Display: 

1930Born New Bremen, Ohio

EDUCATION

1952AB Art History, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

1957MFA Painting, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

1961MA Ceramics, University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), Berkeley, California

APPRENTICESHIPS AND RESIDENCIES

1990Resident Artist, Arts/Industry Residency Program, Kohler Company, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1952-1956Tohoku Gakuin Schools, Sendai, Japan

1957-1959Art Professor, Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin

1961-1965San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California

1964-1994Faculty, UC Berkeley

1977-1981Director, Visual Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts

1984-1988Director, American Academy, Rome, Italy

 

James Melchert is primarily known for his sculptures that reveal his ties to Conceptual Art. As a student of Peter Voulkos at Berkeley in the early 1960s he was part of the beginnings of the California Clay Movement. Melchert employed various techniques as needed to produce his work. In 1962 Melchert and Ron Nagle formulated a white earthenware (whiteware) clay which, unlike traditional earthenware, did not dull colors but intensified them. This whiteware advance was immediately adopted by Robert Arneson and others.  He is well known for his sculptures of the 1960s and the use of bright colors, as well as for his later works using factory produced ceramic tiles, in some cases broken, drawn on, reassembled, and painted with glazes. Melchert’s work was exhibited in the 1967 “Funk” ceramics exhibition at the UC Berkeley.

In the early 1990s Melchert completed a 225 foot long by 12 foot high tile wall installation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology building. Melchert made the tiles while an artist-in-residence at the Tile Guild Inc. in Los Angeles. The Tile Guild's Artist Residency program allows artists to produce large tile works using a kiln with a capacity of 750 square feet of tile per day.

First introduced to clay when, as an art professor at Carthage College, he was required to teach a class in clay, Melchert enrolled in a summer program at the University of Montana given by Peter Voulkus. He went on to do his MA in Ceramics at UC Berkeley with Voulkus. Melchert taught in the San Francisco Bay area, first ceramics at the San Francisco Art Institute and then sculpture at UC Berkeley.

In addition to clay, Melchert has worked in a variety of media, including photography, film, and works on paper.

An interview with James Melchert conducted September 17 and 18, 2002 by Renny Pritikin for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America is available at:
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-james-melchert-11926.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts

Baltimore Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa

Icheon World Ceramic Center, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California

National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, Rhode Island

Rose Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Scripps College, Claremont, California

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Yale University Museum of Art, New Haven, Connecticut

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Koplos, Janet, and Bruce MetcalfMakers: A History of American Studio Craft. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Falino, Jeannine, ed. Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design. New York, NY: Abrams, 2011.

 

CV or Resume: Click Here to Download
Source: Artist

Website(s):

http://jimmelchert.com/

 

Typical Marks
1960-1970
1973
1970---
Candlestick
Date: 1950-1960
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown, Slab Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Collection University of Great Falls, Montana
Photo: TMP
Collection University of Great Falls, Montana
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Container
Date: 1960
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.683, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.683, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Railroad Spike Mug
Date: 1973
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Transfer or Decal Decorated
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 87.1.7, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 87.1.7, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Cup
Date: 1973
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 87.1.8, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 87.1.8, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Tahiti
Date: 2003
Form: Tile
Photo: Artist
Seven Minutes
Date: 2007
Form: Tile
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Overglaze (On Glaze), Underglaze
Photo: Artist
Plate
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Overglaze (On Glaze), Underglaze
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified May 23, 2019. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/melchert