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Arkive Acquires Two Sculptures from one of the Twentieth Century’s Most Influential Ceramicists

In its latest acquisition round,’Ghosts in the Kiln,’ the Arkive community selects Toshiko Takaezu’s Untitled, ca. 1990s and Closed Form (with rattle), n.d., two examples of the artist’s iconic ceramic works of art

The works, which were selected by Arkive members, serve as a distillation of Takaezu’s decades-long practice


Arkive, the world’s first distributed museum curated by the people, today announces its acquisition of Untitled (ca. 1990s) and Closed Form (with rattle) (n.d.) for its ’Ghosts in the Kiln’ acquisition round. Created by Toshiko Takaezu, the two works capture the artists’ reverence for closed-form vessels, which with no discernable opening, abandoned the functionality of their ceramic predecessors to make room for wonder.

View the acquisition in Arkive’s collection gallery here:

Born in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, in 1922 to Japanese emigre parents, Takaezu studied ceramics first with Claude Horan, the founder of the ceramics program at the University of Hawaii, and later with the influential Finnish-American ceramicist Maija Grotell at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. From these earliest phases of her career, Takaezu was interested in the correspondence between Abstract Expressionism and the spiritually-infused traditions of East Asia. These disparate inspirations would continue to serve as the basis of her post-war reconceptualization of ceramics.

“Toshiko Takaezu is a true artistic visionary,” said Tom McLeod, co-founder and Executive Director of Arkive. “Her commitment to creating space for the unseen is evident throughout her five-decade career and we couldn’t be more excited to feature both Untitled(ca. 1990s) and Closed Form (with rattle) (n.d.) in our collection.”

The selected works include two sculptures that share the pronounced navel that was the exterior signature of Takaezu’s closed forms. Made of porcelain, the finest typology of ceramic, Untitled (ca. 1990s), bears the lunar cream color typical to porcelain and is decorated with misty patches of black and blue. These colors evoke Takaezu’s native Hawaii and the scorched fields of lava after the eruption. Conversely, Closed Form (with rattle) (n.d.), is sized to be held in the hands and is a tactile example of Takaezu’s series of rattles. The auditory functionality of the ceramic reflects the serendipitous evolutions of her ceramic work.

“The juxtaposition between the two items is both intellectually intriguing and just plain fun. The larger has a delicate, ethereal nature that is magnified by the celestial color scheme, while the other feels earthier in its color tone and squatness, and by virtue of its ’biological’ ornamentation,” said an Arkive Community Member.

After a series of votes, the Arkive community selected Untitled (ca. 1990s) and Closed Form (with rattle) (n.d.) as the seventeenth and eighteenth acquisitions into Arkive’s collection.

About Arkive

Arkive is the world’s first distributed museum curated by the people. Built by alums from MoMA and Gagosian, Arkive was co-founded by Tom McLeod, a 5x founder who exited his last startup, Omni, to Coinbase, and prior to that, ran Pagelime (acquired by SurrealCMS in 2015), LolConnect (acquired by Tencent in 2012), and Imaginary Feet which developed 15+ profitable iPhone apps enjoyed by over 10 million users.

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 Toshiko Takaezu

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