The Frick presented a year-long exhibition exploring the complex history of making, collecting, and displaying porcelain. Included are about one hundred pieces produced by the renowned Royal Meissen manufactory, which led the ceramic industry in Europe, both scientifically and artistically, during the early to mid-eighteenth century. Most of the works date from 1720 to 1745 and were selected by New York-based sculptor Arlene Shechet from the promised gift of Henry H. Arnhold. Sixteen works in the exhibition are Shechet’s own sculptures — exuberant porcelain she made during a series of residencies at the Meissen manufactory in 2012 and 2013. Designed by Shechet, the exhibition avoided the typical chronological or thematic order of most installations in favor of a personal and imaginative approach that creates an intriguing dialogue between the historical and the contemporary. With nature as the dominant theme, the exhibition was presented in the Frick’s Portico Gallery, which overlooks the museum’s historic Fifth Avenue Garden. Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection was organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection.
The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated booklet featuring installation views and a conversation with Arnhold, Shechet, and Vignon.
Major support for the exhibition is generously provided by Chuck and Deborah Royce, Melinda and Paul Sullivan, Margot and Jerry Bogert, and Monika McLennan.