breaking news

Trump cancels North Korea summit with Kim Jong Un

How did Boca Museum get one of last works by this famous artist?


Boca Raton Museum of Art assistant curator Lanya Snyder didn’t know what to expect when she visited sculptor and ceramicist Betty Woodman in her Chelsea studio in Manhattan last spring.

Artists, after all, can be aloof.

And Woodman’s career had been a formidable one. She was a feminist force in the once-macho world of ceramics, becoming the first living woman artist to have a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She blended painting and sculpture into an inventive hybrid that helped ceramics become accepted as fine art.

So Snyder was delighted to discover the artist was a gracious, welcoming host. And was saddened when she died January 2 at age 87.

“I can’t stress enough what a warm, hospitable, very personable person she was,” said Snyder, who visited Woodman to see how a piece commissioned for the current Boca Museum ceramics show was coming along. “She was quiet, maybe because she had just lost her husband, but she spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon with me. She made us tea. I found a personal connection to her that is not always the case.”

Woodman’s work, called “A Single Joy of Song,” is a huge, two-dimensional piece that spreads exuberantly across a wall in the museum. Woodman’s topic has long been the vase in various historic mutations.

In her piece for the Boca Museum, the vessels don’t hold something in. Instead, two vases jauntily spew forth bits and pieces of colored and uncolored clay shapes, reminiscent of Matisse’s paper cutouts. The pieces spread out over the wall in a work that is 10 feet tall by 23 feet long. The vase is set in a domestic scene that seems to be a house, whose walls are decorated to look like wallpaper.

Although Woodman was mourning the loss of her husband of 64 years, George, an artist and photographer, the effect of “Single Joy” is energetically joyous, even a trifle zany.

“It’s extraordinary that she created this massive wall piece specifically for our show,” said Snyder. “She didn’t have to say yes, we could have borrowed a work, but she very much wanted to keep working, even after the death of her husband.”

Woodman’s work is part of a major ceramics exhibit at the museum dedicated to George Ohr, known as the “mad potter of Biloxi” for his delicate but contorted vases and other vessels.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

Man delivers own baby on side of highway after wife goes into labor
Man delivers own baby on side of highway after wife goes into labor

A Lowell, Massachusetts, man had a special delivery to deal with on the highway: his own baby. Samuel Beyene's wife Rahel Estifanos called him at work Wednesday morning, saying she was having contractions. >> Read more trending news  "We start driving, and all of a sudden, she says, 'Oh my God, something is pushing. Something...
‘It’s a mystery.’ Who set public sculpture ablaze in Boca Raton?
‘It’s a mystery.’ Who set public sculpture ablaze in Boca Raton?

Chieko Mihori received an honor from the emperor of Japan for her practice of ikebana, the ancient art of flower arrangement. But Mihori received a different kind of response on May 9 when her mixed-media sculpture at the Boca Raton Museum Art School went up in flames, creating a brief bonfire on tree-lined Palmetto Park Road. An investigator suspects...
'The Chew' canceled: ABC kills foodie talk show amid Mario Batali allegations
'The Chew' canceled: ABC kills foodie talk show amid Mario Batali allegations

ABC’s appetite for afternoon talk show “The Chew” is over after seven years. Instead, a third hour of “Good Morning America” will air at 1 p.m. starting this fall.  “The Chew,” currently hosted by Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Michael Symon, replaced “All My Children” in 2011. Former...
T.I. rails against Houston's restaurant after actresses' arrests from bathroom
T.I. rails against Houston's restaurant after actresses' arrests from bathroom

Renewed criticism is emerging for Houston’s restaurant in Atlanta as three actresses say they were wrongfully arrested and attacked at the Peachtree Road restaurant after using the restroom. The Atlanta Police Department is investigating whether an off-duty officer working security at the restaurant used excessive force, the agency told...
Stormy Daniels Day: West Hollywood honors adult film star with key to city
Stormy Daniels Day: West Hollywood honors adult film star with key to city

The city of West Hollywood, California, proclaimed May 23 Stormy Daniels Day and honored the adult film star with a key to the city. >> Read more trending news  The city said in a Twitter announcement that it’s honoring Daniels for her leadership in the #Resist movement. “In these politically tumultuous times, Daniels has proven...
More Stories