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Crocker Art Museum presents first major retrospective of sculptor Clayton Bailey
Clayton Bailey, Dangerous Brain Bowl, 1974. Ceramic with luster glaze, china paint, metal wire, metal gooseneck, and electric illumination, 20 × 18 × 34 in. (two elements) Crocker Art Museum, gift of Paula and Ross Turk.


SACRAMENTO, CA.- The Crocker Art Museum presents the first career-spanning retrospective of the work of contemporary sculptor Clayton Bailey in the new exhibition “Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders.” Featuring 180 works and ephemera encompassing Bailey's 50-year career, this exhibition will be on view from October 22 through January 15, 2012.

A ceramist, sculptor, and self-proclaimed “mad scientist,” Bailey aims to surprise and delight with his art. This exhibition presents the full range of his inspired eccentricity in clay and metal, including his signature “exploding pots,” disarming robot sculptures, and ray guns inspired by science fiction and fashioned from discarded aluminum. Also included are the artist’s pseudo-scientific discoveries made under the name of his alter-ego Dr. George Gladstone. Visitors to the exhibition also get to experience Bailey’s full-scale theatrical settings, including the mockumentary “Wonders of the World Museum.”

Exhibition curator Diana L. Daniels notes that while Clayton Bailey is a major figure of Funk art, the American sculptural ceramics movement known for its playful sensibility, “He is serious about the craft of humor and making art. For more than five decades Bailey has made it acceptable to laugh at contemporary culture and even ourselves with objects that linger in the imagination.”

Bailey studied with Harvey Littleton, the father of the contemporary glass movement, at the University of Wisconsin. Visiting instructors Bernard Leach, Toshiko Takaezu, and Peter Voulkos further shaped his approach. Bailey moved to California in 1968, settled in the Bay Area, and became a leading educator, teaching at California State University, Hayward for 26 years. His work is represented in collections from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

A full-color catalogue published by the Crocker Art Museum accompanies the exhibition. Written by Diana L. Daniels, associate curator at the Crocker, the catalogue also includes essays by Philip E. Linhares, recently retired chief curator at the Oakland Museum of California, and Patrick L. Frank, Ph.D., art historian and contributor to the college textbook “Art History.”





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