NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — There is a new exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art called: Katherine Choy, Radical Potter in 1950s New Orleans.
Mel Buchanan is the exhibition curator and says “whenever you approach a piece of artwork in a museum, you usually know that a craftsman made it. Sometimes the story is there for you to see. You can see brushstrokes or in pottery’s case, you can see a hand or the literal fingerprint of the artist.”
Katherine Choy was a remarkable artist who now has her first exhibition on display since 1959.
“She was born in China, and was there during the war years. After World War Two she came to the United States. She went to two very important places in art history. She was at Mills College in California and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan,” explains Buchanan.
At 24-years-old, Choy became an educator in New Orleans and her style changed from incorporating tradition techniques to her finding more innovative and expressive passion in her pottery.
Each pot has it’s own charm and unique allure. Buchanan has her favorite as well, saying “this wonderful pot that has an asymmetrical head and it almost looks like it can talk back at you.”
That is the remarkable power of Choy’s art. She could take something as age-old as pottery and make you see something other than it’s practical use. After five years of changing the way people looked at pottery and making hundreds of pots, Katherine passed away at the young age of 30.
Her fingerprint on radical artwork and diversity in the art world, continues to innovate.
“Her personal story as a young 24-year-old, Chinese woman and what that must have been like to work in the American south in New Orleans as an arts leader,” says Mel Buchanan.
The Katherine Choy exhibition at NOMA will be on display until next year. This October, NOMA releases a catalogue of her work.