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Oral history interview with Richard Shaw [videorecording], 1998 April 3 and 6

Shaw, Richard Blake, 1941 Sept. 12-

Ceramicist, Sculptor


Collection Information

Size: 12 Items, Master: 12 videocassettes (Beta) (30 min. each), sd., col., 1/2 in.; 12 Items, Duplicate: 12 videocassettes (30 min. each) (VHS), sd., col., 1/2 in.; 1 Item, Edited version: "Richard Shaw : Love of the Common Object": 1 videocassette (60 min.) (Beta), sd., col., 1/2 in.; 1 Videocassettes (VHS), Edited version: "Richard Shaw: Love of the Common Object" (10 min.), sd., col., 1/2 in.

Summary: An interview with Richard Shaw conducted 1998 April 3 and6, by Paul J. Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, at Shaw's home and studio, Fairfax, California, and at the Quay Gallery, San Francisco, California.
The interview covers the development of Shaw's career, life, and art. The first session took place in Shaw's studio and introduces his living and working environment. Shown is a step-by-step technical demonstration of Shaw creating his trompe l'oeil ceramic pieces. Shaw discusses his family background, values, his choice of a semi-rural environment of Marin County in which to live; bohemianism; connections with the counter-culture of northern California; relationships with other artists and friends and their importance to the development of his ideas and creativity; the differences in art communities of northern and southern California and the East and West coasts; experiences at the San Francisco Art Institute and instructors there which influenced him, as well as the influences of San Francisco in general. He described his illusionism, alchemy of technique, and his artistic philosophy and goals in his art. The second session took place at the Braunstein/Quay Gallery where a Shaw exhibit was then on display. The interview focused on his work, their meaning, and the evolution of ideas and expressions; his collaboration with Robert Hudson; the idea of a broader collaboration in the Bay Area over the years, especially in the 1960s, and the changes since then; and Shaw's reflections on the importance of ceramics in Bay Area art, his role, and direction for the future. The video was directed by David Bolt, the cameraman was Robert Boudreaux, and sound technician was William Steffanacci. In addition to Shaw, other participants include Shaw's wife, Martha; Ruth Braunstein, owner of the Braunstein/Quay Gallery; Pauletta Chanco, painter and former student; and James Melchert, sculptor and art administrator.

Biographical/Historical Note

Richard Shaw (1941- ) is a ceramist and sculptor from the San Francisco Bay Area, California.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Language Note

English .


Funding for this interview was provided by the Mrs. Yoshiko Mori Fund.

How to Use This Collection

For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Richard Shaw [videorecording], 1998 April 3 and 6. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.