Local Collectors’ Ceramics on Display in Exhibition at CRMA

Eric Dean and Todd Thelen of Iowa City have been collecting ceramics for over a decade, and in that time they have amassed a collection of more than 2,000 pieces, representing some of the most important names in the field of ceramics. Selections from this collection will be on display at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA) from August 15, 2015 through April 10, 2016 in a new exhibition titled Living with Pots: Ceramics from the Eric Dean and Todd Thelen Collection.

While the Dean/Thelen collection is international in nature, its greatest strength is in Iowa and Midwestern artists, and certain artists feature prominently in their holdings, notably Warren MacKenzie, Clary Illian, Chuck Hindes, and Ron Meyers. One area of great depth is their collection of yunomi and chawan (tea cups and tea bowls). For that reason, one of the two galleries presenting this selection from their collection is dedicated to those works. With this as an anchor to the presentation, the rest of the installation is organized by function and demonstrates the range and breadth of their collecting interests.

Associate Curator Kate Kunau stated, “I’m excited to present such a varied collection of ceramics showcasing the great creativity and skill of potters. I think visitors will find the exhibition to be a fascinating example of the diverse objects artists can produce with clay. Dividing the artworks by function allows viewers to observe a wide range of artistic visions for seemingly similar pieces.”

A public opening reception for this exhibition will happen on Thursday, October 1, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. along with Out of This World: Science Fiction and Fantasy Art, Ryan Bentzinger: nAMUH, and Brave New World: Selections from the Hevelin Collection.

This exhibition is made possible by the Hotel-Motel Tax Fund, the Program Grant Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Rockwell Collins, the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, members of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and contributors to the Museum’s Annual Fund.