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Live FormWomen, Ceramics, and Community$
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Jenni Sorkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226303116

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226303253.001.0001

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M. C. Richards’s Vanishing Point

M. C. Richards’s Vanishing Point

(p.147) Chapter Four M. C. Richards’s Vanishing Point
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Jenni Sorkin

University of Chicago Press

The potter and poet M.C. (Mary Caroline) Richards (1916-1999) was a crucial interlocutor between disparate artistic media and its networks of artists and thinkers in 1950s American art. Working across literature, theater, and ceramics, she readily embraced interdisciplinary practice before the term existed. In her 1964 book, Centering: On Pottery, Poetry and the Person, she developed a theory of artistic practice rooted in “wholeness,” where soul, body, and mind are conjoined, and in concert with the vitality of community, morally incompatible with either the heroic (or merely ironic) aims of the avant-garde. This chapter examines Richards’s contributions at Black Mountain College and her erasure as a collaborator, and influence upon, John Cage, whose legacy has eclipsed her own.

Keywords:   Mary Caroline Richards, Black Mountain College, John Cage, education, philosophy, improvisation

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