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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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Women Kitchen Potters

Women Kitchen Potters

Susan Peterson, “The Julia Child of Ceramics”

(p.199) Chapter Five Women Kitchen Potters
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Jenni Sorkin

University of Chicago Press

Three years prior to the advent of public television and in the same year Marshall McLuhan’s influential text, Understanding Media was published, the potter Susan Peterson (1925-2009) brought clay to an audience beyond the classroom. Peterson created and starred in a 54-episode television series titled Wheels, Kilns and Clay (1964-65). Peterson’s format: process-based educational television that takes place in a staged, kitchen-like setting, destabilizes the origins of the “post-studio” 1960s, which denigrated hand labor in favor of an industrial aesthetic, and pre-dates the symbolic and gendered associations of the kitchen in the decade that followed, the 1970s, when the kitchen became the iconic site of women’s universal oppression. Peterson’s kitchen is a proto-feminist space that anticipates early feminist video art.

Keywords:   Susan Peterson, Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, television cooking shows, United States, Martha Rosler, sex role, twentieth century

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