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The Crocker Art Museum appoints Rachel Gotlieb, Ph.D. as the first Ruth Rippon Curator of Ceramics
Gotlieb was the Adjunct Curator and the former Chief Curator at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto. Photo: Barbara Stoneham.



SACRAMENTO, CA.- The Crocker Art Museum announced Rachel Gotlieb, Ph.D., as the first Ruth Rippon Curator of Ceramics. The Crocker’s international ceramics collection is one of the largest in the United States and includes works dating from prehistoric to contemporary periods. Gotlieb, a leading ceramics specialist, will oversee acquisitions, exhibitions, and scholarship, and help bring the collection to even greater prominence nationally and internationally. 

Gotlieb's role is a new position established through the generosity of Anne and Malcolm McHenry in honor of Ruth Rippon (b. 1927, Sacramento, CA), the influential Sacramento State Professor who has long been integral in shaping the Northern California ceramics tradition. 

“The Sacramento region has long played an important role in the development of ceramic arts and especially today as clay has emerged as one of the most exciting media in contemporary art, we are pleased to welcome Rachel to the Museum," said Lial A. Jones, the Museum's Mort and Marcy Friedman Director & CEO. " She will further the Crocker’s collecting and scholarship in this area and will support the elevation of ceramics as one of the Museum’s key focus areas."

"The ceramics collection at the Crocker precedes itself, as it is well known among scholars, curators, collectors, and enthusiasts throughout North America," said Gotlieb, a modern and contemporary specialist with a particular interest in 19th-century ceramics. "I think what differentiates the collection is that it is embedded in a prestigious California museum, and I look forward to increasing access to its diverse and expansive collection."

Previously, Gotlieb was the Adjunct Curator and the former Chief Curator at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, among the few museums globally to be focused on ceramics, where she advised on acquisitions and donations and lectured on 19th-century, modern and contemporary ceramics and design.




Notably, she directed the installation of a monumental glazed ceramic sculpture in front of the Gardiner by artist Jun Kaneko; curated Piece by Piece (2015), the first museum presentation in Canada of acclaimed British ceramic artist Clare Twomey; True Nordic (2016–17), a landmark survey exploring more than seven decades of Nordic aesthetic influence on Canadian design spanning furniture, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, and glassware; and a major retrospective (2017–18) of the acclaimed Canadian artist Steven Heinemann who transformed the medium of ceramics in Canada.

She holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Toronto; an M.A. in Design History from the Victoria & Albert Museum at the Royal College of Art, London, and a Ph.D. in Art History from the Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. 

2022 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference

The Crocker also announced today that it will play a major role at the 2022 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference, bringing thousands of clay artists to Sacramento, the host city.

The conference theme, "Fertile Ground," refers to the many influential ceramists who have worked in our area and Sacramento's position as an agricultural powerhouse.

During the run of the conference (March 16–19), the Crocker will feature four clay exhibitions including Stephen De Staebler: Masks and Monumental Figures;

Hands and Earth: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics; The Candy Store: Funk, Nut and Other Art With a Kick, devoted to the Candy Store Gallery in Folsom, CA, which between 1962–1992 sold humorous, irreverent art by local artists, many of whom worked in clay and are nationally acclaimed today. The fourth exhibition, Belonging, is a show organized in partnership with NCECA and guest-curated by Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy, a New York and Los Angeles-based curator, writer, and arts administrator of contemporary art and craft that will focus on the themes of belonging and identity. The exhibition explores the coded ways in which we navigate inhospitable environments, push back against oppressive systems that deny belonging, and the role of community in fostering inclusion.










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