Recentering the development of industrially scaled Southern pottery traditions around enslaved and free Black potters working in the mid-nineteenth century, this catalogue presents groundbreaking scholarship and new perspectives on stoneware made in and around Edgefield, South Carolina. Among the remarkable works included are a selection of regional face vessels as well as masterpieces by enslaved potter and poet David Drake, who signed, dated, and incised verses on many of his jars, even though literacy among enslaved people was criminalized at the time. Essays on the production, collection, dispersal, and reception of stoneware from Edgefield offer a critical look at what it means to collect, exhibit, and interpret objects made by enslaved artisans. Several featured contemporary works inspired by or related to Edgefield stoneware attest to the cultural and historical significance of this body of work, and an interview with acclaimed contemporary artist Simone Leigh illuminates its continued relevance.
Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press
Hardcover/ 200 pages