Words With a Curator: Anthony Merino

by Logan Snook

A ground-breaking exhibition is about to go up in Kansas City, and we get to be a part of it.

Starting March 16th, 50 female artists will come together to showcase their work in ceramics in honor of the National Council of Educators for the Ceramic Arts 50th annual conference. This exhibit is 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics.

What is so grounAnthony D Merinod-breaking about this exhibit? This will be the first large-scale exhibition in the 49 years of NCECA conferences that features only works of female artists. Anthony Merino, co-curator of the exhibit, along with co-curator Alexandra Kraft, decided this was the year to break this streak.

Merino was kind enough to speak with us about this exhibit, which will take place at the American Jazz Museum from March 16 – May 13. Merino is one of the foremost Ceramic Art critics in the US, has curated 8 exhibits, and has published over 100 articles on ceramics.

“The theme of the exhibition is to be egalitarian as possible,” Merino stated. Merino and Kraft, along with collaborators Arzie Umali and Melanie Shaw, have seen incredible support from the art community on this project, from donations, to nearly 7,000 Facebook likes. This support has been a huge validation of the project, including support from the conservative market, which argues that the market is gender neutral. Even if the curators had not there not received much support from the community or market for an exhibit showcasing ceramics from female artists around the world, Merino said:

“[but] even if there was no need. Even if we go to a magical place of complete gender equity, I would still defend the exhibition.”

On top of 50 Women, Merino is excited to be a part of a second exhibit at NCECA conference – Makers Curate/Curators Make. Merino is one of the six involved in artistic production whose art will be on display, including the curators of the 50 Women exhibit. This exhibit highlights the challenges and creative parallels between curating and artistic production, and will be “one of the few multi-discipline exhibitions during the conference.” The reception for will take place on Friday, March 18th from 3:00 – 5:00pm at the UMKC Gallery of Art.