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News Briefs from Mark Bassett

Cleveland Institute of Art

Summer 2012—

In May I completed my 2nd year of teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). WOW! Even though I'm a perfect fit for the school, whose history I started learning about in 1991, when I first began research for Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland School, I never imagined I would end up teaching in this dynamic, innovative, awe-inspiring college of art and design.

The Liberal Arts department includes courses in academic and creative writing, art history, humanities and social sciences, and other subjects that support the studio faculty. So far I have taught the first-year writing sequence, along with "Topics in Design" (theoretical approaches) and "20th-Century American Studio Craft." In the spring 2013 semester, I expect to teach "Writing about Material Culture" (asking "what do objects mean?").

In addition to teaching, all faculty are expected to conduct scholarship and to do service work to help keep things going on campus. My research training and interests have been recognized by the administration, so I am being "released" from teaching one course each semester, in order to pursue projects that can be used in many ways at school. For example, in the spring 2012 semester I gave several public lectures on various CIA alumni and wrote two profiles, which you can explore here. One is the story of a major Tiffany designer, Clara Wolcott Driscoll. The other is the story of Charles L. Sallée, who was CIA's first African-American graduate, a portrait painter, muralist, and influential interior designer.

Next year, I will be participating in writing a catalog for the alumni show that opens in November 2012--and then giving a lecture related to an exhibition at the Canton Museum of Art (opening in December), called "Watercolor and Clay: The Cleveland School." I will also be surveying the institutional archives and writing mini profiles of prestigious alumni, both recent and historical figures.

My own scholarship at the moment relates to watercolor artist Frank Nelson Wilcox. I'm editing his unpublished work Out in Brecksville for publication. An exhibition by the same title is also being organized by the Cleveland Artists Foundation. And I have been working this year with David Margolick, who is writing a profile of American novelist John Horne Burns, whose war-time letters I began collecting as part of my dissertation research years ago at the University of Missouri-Columbia. We hope his profile will renew scholarly interest in Burns and that a forthcoming edition of these letters will assist everyone in understanding his story and his importance in American social history and letters.

During the last few years, my writing and research have also centered on Charles Lakofsky, Walter Anderson, and Viktor Schreckengost. I also continue to be interested in biography, one of the topics of my dissertation.

Because of my commitment to CIA, I have not been working on any books on pottery for the last few years.

If my life is as active during 2012-13 as it was last spring, I may not have time to email and telephone all you dear friends with the detailed accounts of my activities that you probably want and deserve. However, I do have a Facebook profile, where I sometimes post photos. (Or just announcements related to Castle

Knowing that, I've written this summary in the hope that it will at least give you a flavor of what I've been doing... and why I sometimes do not respond to emails that say nothing much more than asking questions like these: "How have you been? What book are you working on? How is teaching?"

Thanks for understanding!

Mark Bassett (aka "Dr. Mark")

July 2012 Collectible Pottery Show - Zanesville, Ohio

As usual, Mark Bassett will be selling books and art pottery in Zanesville this summer. He will be in room 309 of the Holiday Inn Express (in downtown Zanesville), from July 10th through the 15th.

The first-rate annual event, usually called "Pottery Festival," features collectible pottery of all kinds, including both American (such as Roseville, Weller, Rookwood, Owens, Cowan, Brush McCoy, and much MUCH more) and European (French, German, Belgian, and others). Studio pottery can also be found there, both vintage and contemporary.

If you have curiosity about American art pottery or if you are a collector/dealer, you owe it to yourself to make the trip to Zanesville. Tales of hot deals abound down there!

For full details, visit

© 2012 Mark Bassett
Updated 7/3/2012