COLLECTING TEXTURES: A VISIT WITH TIM AND MARILYN MAST

lifeinthecave

A VISIT WITH TIM AND MARILYN MAST

13 COLLECTING TEXTURES:

A VISIT WITH COLLECTING TIM AND MARILYN TEXTURES:

Addie Langford

MAST

A VISIT WITH TIM AND MARILYN MAST

One of the finest collections of ceramics in

Addie Langford

Michigan began with a velvet couch. Tim and

Addie Langford

Marilyn One of the Mast finest sit collections by the fireside of ceramics in Bloomfield in Michigan

began Michigan, with a surrounded velvet couch. by Tim works and Marilyn of art,

Hills, One of the finest collections of ceramics in

mostly

Michigan began with a velvet couch. Tim and

Mast sit ceramic, by the fireside mostly in from Bloomfield the United Hills, Michigan,

offer surrounded me coffee by works and a of place art, mostly on their ceram-

peach

States.

Marilyn Mast sit by the fireside in Bloomfield

They

Hills, Michigan, surrounded by works of art,

Milo ic, mostly Baughman from the designed United States. Thayer They Coggin offer me sofa

mostly ceramic, mostly from the United States.

c. coffee 1968, and the a place Masts on were their introduced peach Milo Baughman

to modern

They offer me coffee and a place on their peach

Milo

interiors

designed

Baughman

by

Thayer

a

designed

friend

Coggin

and

Thayer

interior

sofa c.

Coggin

designer,

1968,

the Masts were introduced to modern interiors sofa

Susie c. 1968, Milock, the Masts whose were taste introduced in design to encouraged

by a friend and interior designer, Susie Milock, modern

interiors the

whose taste

Masts’ by in design a interest friend encouraged and in modern interior the

forms, designer, Masts’

and

in interest Susie so doing Milock, modern flung whose open forms, taste the and in door in design so to doing an encouraged

year the door passion Masts’ to an interest for almost collecting fifty modern year works passion forms, of and for art,

almost flung

fifty open

craft, collecting so and doing design. works flung of open But art, Ms. craft, the Milock door and to design. was an almost working But

with Ms. fifty an Milock year already passion was working primed for collecting with canvas, already works for the primed of Masts art,

each canvas, craft, grew and for design. up the in Masts a But manner each Ms. Milock grew supportive was in working a manner

with creativity supportive an already which of primed art and might canvas, creativity explain for which their Masts might com-

of art

and

mitment

explain each grew their

to arts up commitment in and a manner education

to arts supportive and

and

education

their of high art

and their creativity high level which of might participation explain in their Metro commitment

community arts and cornerstone education institutions. and their Their

Detroit’s

level of participation in Metro-Detroit’s community

high

collection

cornerstone

level of participation is itself a collective

institutions.

in Metro-Detroit’s work of

Their

art developed

is

collection

community

organically itself a collective

cornerstone and which work

institutions. now of represents art developed

Their collection

is itself

the

organically couple’s personal and which

a collective

vision

work

as now well represents

of art

as

developed

the preservation

of personal a time of vision radical as transition well as in the North pres-

Janet Ayako Neuwalder, Torso, 15x7x5, 1992.

the This exploration with the Masts is the beginning

couple’s

organically and which now represents the of a research into modern and contemporary

ervation American

This exploration with the Masts is the beginning

couple’s

a ceramics

personal

time of from

vision

radical the

as

transition 1960’s to present.

well as the

in

preservation

a ceramics time of radical from the transition 1960’s to in present. North ceramics Tim ning and of a collections Marilyn research and into other Michigan modern collectors. and inspired contempo-

Families by

North

of

ceramics This a research exploration collections

into with modern the in

and Masts Michigan

contemporary

is the inspired begin-

by

American

American ceramics from the 1960’s to present. Tim that rary and house ceramics Marilyn significant collections and other ceramic collectors. in Michigan holdings, Families inspired namely

by house Maxine Tim and significant and Marilyn Stuart and ceramic Frankel, other holdings, collectors. Marsha name-

Fami-

and Jef-

that

ly frey lies

Maxine H. that Miro, and

house

Stuart Rebecca significant

Frankel, and Alan Marsha

ceramic Ross, and

holdings, Julie Jeffrey

Bobby namely

and

H. Miro, Taubman, Maxine

Rebecca

and Joy and

Stuart and Alan Allan Ross,

Frankel, Nachman, Julie

Marsha

and and

and Jeffrey H. Miro, Rebecca and Alan Ross,

Bobby Joyce Taubman, and Myron Joy and M. LaBan, Allan Nachman, continue and to consistently

and Myron collect/conserve M. LaBan, continue systems to and con-

transi-

Julie and Bobby Taubman, Joy and Allan Nachman,

and Joyce and Myron M. LaBan, continue

Joyce

sistently tions of collect/conserve thought in the field, systems not and to mention transitions

work of thought each of in these field, collectors not mention do the

to consistently collect/conserve systems and the

transitions of thought in the field, not to mention

support

work programs, each

the work

of artists, these

each

collectors and of these institutions do

collectors

to support that do maintain

support the programs, artists, biosphere and artists, of institutions the and culture institutions that locally, main-

that with

to

programs,

tain

tendrils maintain the biosphere

of the support biosphere of the

reaching of culture the culture across

locally, locally, with

the US/

tendrils of support reaching across the US/

abroad, with tendrils and of in support the case reaching of Marsha across Miro, the the US/ accretion

abroad, of and significant in the case scholarly of Marsha contributions Miro, the ac-

as

abroad, and in the case of Marsha Miro, the accretiocretion

of of significant scholarly contributions as as

an

an author

and

and historian

of art

of

and

art and architecture.

bert Cooke,

Robert Cooke, Robert “Wrapped

“Wrapped Cooke, Wrapped Form”,

Form”, Form, 6x19x8,

6x19x8, 6x19x8, 1973.

an author and historian of art and architecture.

1973. 1973.

Images courtesy of the artist and Tim and Marilyn Mast. Photography by Marissa Jezak

Janet Ayako Neuwalder, “Torso”, 15x7x5, 1992.

Janet Ayako Neuwalder, “Torso”, 15x7x5, 1992.


This mid-February morning, from my peach

velvet perch, I sensed the upward pull of the

ceiling vault and the slow spin of the rice paper

figure twisting from a piece of filament.

This form is one of few figures among mostly

viewing and selecting works of art. Born and

raised in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, Tim’s

father was a residential builder and his parents’

travels lived on through the works of art they acquired

for the house. Built in 1939, their family

abstract forms. On matte white walls, red, pink, home featured an original Pewabic Pottery tile

green and This orange mid-February flares of morning, color flicker from my amid peach fireplace, his guide and of in particular viewing and influence selecting was works a vase of

predominant velvet earth-tones. perch, I sensed The the home upward sits atop pull a of the crafted art. by Born the and matriarch raised of in Pewabic Grosse Pointe Pottery, Farms, Mary

steep hill, ceiling and vault a glass and wall the faces slow spin southeast of rice incorporatinper

a figure sheet twisting of snow from and a wet piece bark. of Rak-

filament. ochre er over and the his highly parents’ textured travels surfaces lived on imprint-

through

pa-

Chase Michigan, Perry Stratton. Tim’s father The was barium a residential blue and build-

rich

ing light

This

stitched

form

together

is one of

a

few

Corbusier

figures among

chaise,

mostled

Tim

the

with

works

a reverence

of art they

for

acquired

the ceramic

for the

medium,

house.

several ceramic

abstract

sculptures,

forms. On

a

matte

low bench

white walls,

of art

red,

specifically

Built in

vessels

1939, their

which

family

lead

home

him eventually

featured an

to

pink, green and orange flares of color flicker original Pewabic Pottery tile fireplace, and of

texts and a steaming cup of coffee in a paperthin

porcelain cylinder. The spare modern fur-

finishing a business degree at the University of

highly textured abstract sculptural forms. While

amid predominant earth-tones. The home particular influence was a vase crafted by the

sits atop a steep hill, and a glass wall faces matriarch of Pewabic Pottery, Mary Chase

nishings allow the variety of forms to activate Michigan, Tim was studying in the basement coffee

lounge and was transfixed by laughter in a

southeast incorporating a sheet of snow and Perry Stratton. The barium blue and rich

the space in the way that one normally relies

wet bark. Raking light stitched together a Corbusier

ochre over the highly textured surfaces imprinted

on wall coverings,

chaise,

rugs,

several

family photos,

ceramic

and

sculptures,

the distant salon.

Tim

He

with

rounded

a reverence

the corner

for the

to discover

ceramic

lunch box

a low

family

bench

clutter

of

that

art texts

by design

and a

or

steaming

default

cup

“this

medium,

stunning,

specifically

tall blond across

vessels

the

which

room,”

lead

he

him

explained,

eventually grinning, to highly who was textured enjoying abstract the compa-

sculp-

creates of a sense coffee of in place. a paper-thin I was porcelain compelled cylinder. to

note the The time spare – the modern light was furnishings so important allow to the the variety

of of forms the textures. to activate 11:25am the space in winter.

the way That at was the 1965 University and in of 1966 Michigan, Tim and Tim Marilyn was study-

wed.

ny of tural a mutual forms. friend While at finishing a travel a abroad business function. degree

experience

that one normally relies on wall coverings, ing in the basement coffee lounge and was

rugs, family photos, and the lunch box family

the clutter Masts that at by Cranbrook design or Academy default creates of a rounded the corner to discover “this stunning,

transfixed by laughter in a distant salon. He

I first met

Art as an sense MFA of student place. in I was 2004. compelled Upon receiving to note the tall blond across the room,” he explained,

the Clark time Hill LLC – the scholarship light was so in ceramics important (sponsored

by perience Tim Mast’s of the law textures. firm), I was 11:25am introduced

winter. mutual friend at a travel abroad function. That

to the ex-

grinning, who was enjoying the company of a

to the couple and a friendship ensued. Marilyn was 1965 and in 1966 Tim and Marilyn wed.

Mast, was I first raised met the (Marilyn Masts at Parker) Cranbrook in Northern Academy of

Michigan, Art in as both an Bellaire MFA student and Traverse in 2004. City; Upon her receiving

the a Clark weekly Hill newspaper LLC scholarship in Bellaire in ceram-

father founded

and was ics a (sponsored newspaper by man Tim Mast’s in Traverse law firm), City. I was

The creative introduced embrace to the of language couple and and a friendship the influence

of her sued. mother’s Marilyn involvement Mast, was raised with a (Marilyn Bellaire Park-

en-

craft market, er) in Northern Winter Michigan, Workshop, in both permeated Bellaire and

the Parker

Traverse

home

City;

and her

father

uncle,

founded

Oren Parker,

a weekly

a noted

newspaper

set designer,

in Bellaire

familiarized

and was

her with

a newspaper

creative

studio processes. In grade school Tim

man in Traverse City. The creative embrace

of language and the influence of her mother’s

involvement with a Bellaire craft market,

Mast enjoyed painting and sculpting but would

pursue a career in law. His studio exploration

the Winter Workshop, permeated the Parker

in painting and sculpture as a young adult cultivated

in

home and her uncle, Oren Parker, a noted set

designer,

him an

familiarized

appreciation

her

for

with

joining

creative

material,

artistic

studio

processes.

vision and

In grade

the visceral

school Tim

qualities

Mast showed

of

sculpture, enjoyed a skill painting set which and remains sculpting his but guide would in pursue

a career in law. His studio exploration in

painting and sculpture as a young adult cultivated

in him an appreciation for joining material

mechanics, artistic vision and the visceral

qualities of sculpture, a skill set which remains

14

Tim & Marilyn Mast


15

In addition to to forty years at at Clark Hill LLC law

firm and twenty years as an English teacher in

Detroit and librarian at Cranbrook Kingswood

School, Tim and Marilyn raised a family (Ashley

Mast, a school teacher and Scott Parker

Mast, a musician), traveled and collected consistently,

starting with their first acquisition: a

wooden oval installed vertically on a blue-gray

stone base that Tim admits their friends referred

to as a commode seat. Not surprisingly

this work of art is no longer among the Mast’s

collection having likely likely been been broken broken (deaccessionedaccessioned)

in in of one their of several their several moves. Though moves.

(de-

possibly Though a possibly sore spot a sore for the spot couple, for the the couple, gentle ribbing

gentle of their ribbing peers of points their peers to the fact points that to the the Masts fact

the

were

that the

early

Masts

adopters

were

of

early

modernism,

adopters

and

of

sculpture

for that matter, which has always been lo-

modernism,

and sculpture for that matter, which

gistically inconvenient to collect. What frustrates

has always been logistically inconvenient to

too many collectors about three-dimensional

collect. What frustrates too many collectors

work - the weight, the mass, the installation, the

about three-dimensional work - the weight,

very objectness of presence - is a delight to Tim

and

the mass,

Marilyn

the

Mast,

installation,

who enjoy

the

the

very

slow

objectness

process

of

of

selecting

presence

a

-

space,

is a delight

re-arranging

to Tim

objects,

and Marilyn

drawing

Mast, paper who bag enjoy patterns the slow and process contemplating of selecting and

designing a space, re-arranging their own pedestals objects, which drawing they paper commission

bag patterns from a and short contemplating list of specialty and fabricators. designing

their own pedestals which they commission

Mast from collection a short list has of an specialty undeniable fabricators. sense

The

of unity without objects looking like one another.

The It Mast is not collection a hodge-podge has an but undeniable a collage across sense

aesthetics of unity without in a contemporaneous objects looking like genre one another.

It is art not and a hodge-podge its next generation but a collage - or three. across It

of ceramic

is aesthetics collage in in that a contemporaneous it offers the experience genre of ceramic

art and tapestry its next as color generation somehow - becomes or three.

an

inhabitable

air-born It is collage and in forms that reflect it offers but the don’t experience mirror one of

another. inhabitable Walking tapestry into this as space color feels somehow in this becomes

like air-born a sacred and space forms experience reflect but don’t – you mir-

can

respect

feel ror one the composition another. Walking of care into and this quiet space mornings feels

- in looking. this respect This is like confirmed a sacred by space the way or Tim experience


and

Marilyn move

you can

through

feel

the

the

space

composition

elaborating

of care

on

stories of each work, biographies of artists, years

and quiet mornings - looking. This is confirmed

of art, changes in the market. Tim touches the

by the way Tim and Marilyn move through the

work and moves quickly, Marilyn is still and offers

space elaborating on stories of each work,

names, places and dates with tremendous recall.

biographies of artists, ears of art, changes in

the market. Tim touches the work and moves

quickly, Marilyn is still and offers names,

places and dates with tremendous recall.

John McQueen, Gargoyle, 39x37x4, 1996;

wood and plastic ties.

The one impossibility in viewing the Mast collection

The one is impossibility for the eye to in light viewing on an the object Mast without collection

is for no the matter eye how to light subtle. on an It is object like entering without

texture,

a texture, fun-house no matter of texture how where subtle. you It is can like try entering on different

a fun-house sensations of texture - inflated, where slack, you can taut, try scraped, on different

sensations pierced, - inflated, and dripped slack, on taut, forms scraped, that

scratched,

bring scratched, tension pierced, to the and skin, dripped and cause on forms the need that

to bring bend tension close to to the touch. skin, This and cause haptic the response, need to

when bend close sight to and touch. touch This swap haptic roles, response, when when you

can sight touch and touch with the swap eye, roles, or see when with you the can skin, touch enables

with the sight eye, and or skin see to with join the and skin, feel enables momentarily sight

inseparable, and skin to join as and though feel the momentarily body itself inseparable,

as texture. though Surface the body in itself these turns works to pure is dense tex-

turns to

pure

and ture. sinks Surface deep in into these the works material is dense below and the sinks surface,

deep since into the the material sensation-shapes below the surface, involved since are

not

the

about

sensation-shapes

‘the outermost

involved

layer with

are not

color

about

on top.’

the

Rather,

outermost

surface

layer with

in these

color on

works

top. Rather,

becomes

surface

in these works becomes a matrix or cata-

a

matrix or catacomb that invites the projected

feeling that one can crawl into and hibercomb

that invites the projected feeling that one

can crawl into and hibernate, lay eggs, become

nate, lay eggs, become primitive. Here one

primitive. Here one can begin to say what the

can begin to say what the power of the Mast

power of the Mast collection is, the mark of its

collection

authenticity:

is,

it

the

is not

mark

a pretty

of its

or decorative

authenticity:

collection

not a of pretty objects; or it decorative is, a lot of collection it, messy, of heavy ob-

it

is

jects; and brutal it is, a work, lot of against it, messy, a clean heavy expanse and brutal

floor, work, peach against velvet couch a clean and expanse soft muted of walls. floor,

of

peach velvet couch and soft muted walls.

John McQueen, “Gargoyle”, 39x37x4, 1996; wood and plastic ties.


tion of the works is clearly thought through:

no stray boots, no T.V. remote. The conversation

is between you and this vigorous work.

The removal of information in the presentation

The of inherent the works depth is clearly of the thought glazed through: surface on no

many stray of boots, the works no T.V. brings remote. layers The of conversation

light is between refraction you that and highlight this vigorous fissures, work. im-

speckle

and

purities and tonal variation. Mineral spikes

bubble The inherent from two depth 36 inch of the high glazed ceramic surface forms on

many of the works brings layers of speckle and

by Graham Marks (constructed by Beth Blahut)

in the living room; a soaked textile piece

light refraction that highlight fissures, impurities

and tonal variation. Mineral spikes bubble

made from of two clumps 36 inch of high dried ceramic bread forms dough by wrapped Graham

in Marks textile (constructed with strings by falling Beth Blahut) from the in orbs the living sits

in room; front a of soaked a mirrored textile corner, piece made the of work clumps looks of

as dried though bread it has dough been wrapped dredged in textile from with a swamp; strings

behind falling the from couch the orbs is an sits inflated front ceramic of a mirrored form

by corner, Betty Woodman the work looks that is as the though shape it of has a Saint been

Bernard’s dredged rescue from a swamp; canteen; behind the tightness the couch of is the an

drum inflated form ceramic is interrupted form by Betty by layered Woodman drips that that is

the shape of a Saint Bernard’s rescue canteen;

become blobs of glossy grass green and rust

the tightness of the drum form is interrupted by

with an exposed grid of raw porcelain peeking

layered drips that become blobs of glossy grass

through.

green and

A Kevin

rust with

Beasley

an exposed

acrylic

grid

disc

of

is

raw

stuffed

porcelain

street peeking soot and through. then A drowned Kevin Beasley in plastic, acrylic a

with

sort disc of is vessel stuffed as with jailer street instead soot and of then cradle, drowned yet

in in conversation plastic, a sort with of vessel historical as vessel/cylinder

jailer instead of

forms. cradle, Though yet in conversation we have become with historical immune vessel/cylinder

hysterical forms. digital Though chaos we that have is on become the morn-

im-

to

the

ing mune news to and the hysterical commercials, digital moving chaos that between is on

smooth the morning sober news surfaces and commercials, to injurious spikes, moving tween

between

wood

smooth

potter

sober

browns

surfaces

and

to injurious

hysterical

spikes,

pink

between wood potter browns and hysterical pink

puff at the Mast’s home makes texture and

puff at the Mast’s home makes texture and

variety

variety

exhilarating

exhilarating

again.

again.

It

It

evokes

evokes

incidents

incidents

and and snippets snippets of of experience, the the ity ity of of making, and and thought becomes physical-

tangible.

vealing. This collection says things that the

Masts may or may not wish for us to understand,

there is a viscera, a daring, a fertility

16

Like to the making forms art, with being drips taken of hot by art color is revealing. amid moss

This tones collection that, after says listening things that to the Tim Masts speak, may reveal

may a not yearning wish for for us the to understand, making of there art, for is a the

or

viscera, experience a daring, of a touching. fertility the The forms collecting with drips urge

of seems hot color simultaneously amid moss tones that, invoke, after satisfy, listening yet

to frustrate Tim speak, this reveal compulsion. a yearning In for other making words, of revealing

it as desire in the strongest sense.

art, for the experience of touching. The collecting

urge seems simultaneously to invoke, satisfy,

yet frustrate this compulsion. In other words, revealing

For Marilyn, it as desire the collecting in the strongest process sense. presents For

Marilyn, an initial the intuitive collecting response process followed presents by an an initialytical

intuitive weighing response of art followed acquisition by an against analytical other

ana-

weighing possibilities. of art acquisition This evaluative against process other possibilities.

sense This if you evaluative know Marilyn’s process makes patient sense and if dis-

makes

you cerning know nature, Marilyn’s but patient the couple and can discerning also be naturegerously

but the spontaneous. couple can They also be see dangerously it, they like it,

dan-

spontaneous. they acquire They it. But see this it, is they after like much it, they general acquire

it. But this is after much general study in

study in the field as is evident in their library

the field as is evident in their library and Marilyn

and Marilyn who, now in retirement, can read

who, now in retirement, can read seven books

in

seven

a week

books

and

in

still

a week

make

and

it to

still

three

make

or four

it to

art

three

events. or four Though art events. their Though library is their deep, library Tim shared is deep,

with Tim me shared the three with seminal me the texts three that solidified seminal his texts

passion that solidified for the world his passion of ceramics: for the American world Pottersramics:

The American Work of Twenty Potters: Modern The Work Masters, of Twenty by

of ce-

Garth Modern Clark; Masters, A Century by of Garth Ceramics Clark; in the A United Century

States of Ceramics 1878-1978, in the by United Garth Clark States1878-1978,

and Margie

Hughto; by Garth and Clark Objects: and Margie USA: Works Hughto; by and Artist- Objects:

USA:

Craftsmen in

Works

Ceramic,

by

Enamel,

Artist-Craftsmen

Glass, Metal,

in Ceramic,

Enamel, Glass, Metal, Plastic, Mosaic,

Plastic, Mosaic, Wood, and Fiber, by Lee Nordness.

Flipping through the plates of these books,

one

Wood,

sees

and

corresponding

Fiber, by Lee

pieces

Nordness.

and style markers

through on the the wall, plates floor and of these side table. books, The one collec-

sees

Flipping

tion corresponding is studied but pieces fresh, having and style obvious markers spur of on

the moment wall, floor game and changing side table. acquisitions. The collection In addition

studied to these but fresh, key texts having were obvious later pivotal spur works of the

is

they moment saw game and felt changing compelled acquisitions. to acquire, In and addition

allow to these time key to catch texts up were to the later work pivotal through works

then

contemplation, they saw and looking, felt compelled and further to acquire, research. and

then allow time to catch up to the work through

contemplation, looking, and further research.

Kevin Beasley, Beaseley, In Case “In Case Your Your Parts..., Parts...”, 6x11x11, 6x11x11, 2010; dirt, 2010; tar, dirt, t

sticks and cast acrylic.


-

y

s

-

-

s

17 Marcia

Marcia Polenberg,

Polenberg, “William

“William Morris”,

Morris”, 18x19x12,

18x19x12,

rcia Marcia Polenberg, Marcia Polenberg, William Morris, and Aweigh, 1995; bread and fiber.

2012. Marcia

Polenberg, “William Morris”, 18x19x12,

2012.

2012. Polenberg, “William “William Morris”, Morris”, 18x19x12, 18x19x12, Beth Beth Beth

2012. Blahut,

Blahut, “Up and “Up

“Up and

and

Aweigh”,

Aweigh”, 14x18x18,

14x18x18, 1995; 1995; bread 1995;

bread and bread fiber. and

and

fiber.

fiber.

12. 2012.

Beth Beth Blahut, Blahut, “Up and “Up Aweigh”, and Aweigh”, 14x18x18, 14x18x18, 1995; 1995; bread bread and fiber. and fiber.

2012. Beth Blahut, “Up and Aweigh”, 14x18x18, 1995; bread and fiber.

-

t

-

.

s

-

Betty Betty Betty

Betty Woodman, Woodman, “Pillow

“Pillow

Betty Woodman, “Pillow Vase”, Vase, Vase”, 15x24x13, Vase”, 15x24x13,

15x24x13,

1980. 1980.

tty Woodman, “Pillow Vase”, 15x24x13, 1980. 1980. 1980.

1980.

r Betty Woodman, “Pillow Vase”, 15x24x13, 1980.

s

-

-

,

l

y

,

s

-

y

y

,

-

-

Marilyn

Marilyn Mast Mast

Mast Paul Paul Paul

Marilyn Mast Paul Kotula, Kotula,

Kotula,

Untitled, Untitled,

Untitled,

each each approx. each each

approx.

approx.

11x15x2, 11x15x2,

11x15x2,

1988-1992.

rilyn Mast Paul Kotula, Untitled, each approx. 11x15x2, 1988-1992.

1988-1992.

1988-1992.

, Marilyn Marilyn Mast Mast Paul Paul Kotula, Kotula, Untitled, Untitled, each each approx. approx. 11x15x2, 11x15x2, 1988-1992. 1988-1992.

s

s

.

irt, r, dirt,

r, tar,

tar,

tar,


18


19

Betty Woodman, “Pillow Vase, Vase”, 15x24x13, 1980.

The

The Cornerstone

Cornerstone exhibitions

exhibitions

at

at at

the the

DIA DIA

between

between

1968-71 and and an an exhibition exhibition called, called, Contemporary

Contemporary

Art in in Detroit Collections (1982), of of ly ly one hundred and fifty internationally esteemed

works of of art from Detroit domestic collections,

made indelible marks on on their their understanding of of

of art art and and collecting. Tim Tim described the the power of of

of being being able able to to to see into the living room collections

of families across the the region region and and sense sense the

network the network of appreciation, of of valuation, and and curios-

curiosity

- - a - a movement dedicated to to the celebration

and collection of thought, beauty and culture.

approximate-

So what is is it it that captures a person’s attention so

so

completely that they must collect? The The motiva-

tion to to collect comes from many directions - - love

love

of of art, infatuation with with material, nostalgia, nostalgia, schol-

schol-

arship,

arship, prestige,

prestige, investment,

investment,

preservation preservation

- -

but

but

the unifying quality that links collectors (of any

the unifying quality that links collectors (of any

kind) is,

in

in the words

of

of Marilyn Mast, that “it

“it

is

kind) is, in the words of Marilyn Mast, that “it is is

not something one decides to do, it is something

not something one decides to to do, it it is is something

one can’t help.” In other words, collecting must

one can’t help.” In In other words, collecting must

be a form of compulsion and attraction – not un-

of like

be love

form of compulsion and attraction – not un-

1 . The Masts have built a living library of

like love 1 . 1 . The Masts have built a living library of

a section of our culture, like many other collecof

tors section of note.

of of our They culture, have rescued like many these other objects

collec-

from tors of of ‘thought note. They dispersion.’ have rescued The collective these voices objects

of from each ‘thought of these dispersion.’ two hundred The plus collective artists voices hang

of together of each of of to these offer a two colloquy hundred or gathering plus artists of past hang

and together present, to to offer with a hints colloquy of futures or or gathering yet unknown. of of past

The and collection present, with captures hints of and of futures embodies yet the unknown. com-

plex The collection temporalities captures of movement and embodies and transition

the com-

from plex temporalities one artistic generation of of movement to another, and transition like a

from one artistic generation to to another, like a

1 André Breton famously said that art – and collecting

11 André Breton famously said that art art –– and collecting ––

– should only be approached as an act of love.

should only be be approached as as an an act act of of love.

thought diagram whose paths and openings

respond to one another in in non-linear ways.

Since retirement in 2005 and 2006, Tim and

Marilyn have been been able able to to expand to expand their their passions

pas-

for sions gardening, for gardening, cooking, cooking, travel travel and books, and books, passions

passions which which are evident are evident throughout throughout the home

the

where home where book cases book cases and pantries and pantries of handmade of of hand-

pottery

made pottery

are of equal are of of

aesthetic equal aesthetic

interest. Tim’s interest.

passion

Tim’s

for passion

gardening for gardening

extends deep extends

into the

deep

rolling

into

landscape surrounding the property out of which

the rolling landscape surrounding the property

large sculptural forms emerge as though long an

out of of which large sculptural forms emerge as as

organic part of the landscape. They are visitors

though long an organic part of of the landscape.

to The Frederik Meijer Garden and Sculpture

They are visitors to to The Frederik Meijer Garden

Museum

Park in Grand Rapids, and the Marshall Fredericks

and Sculpture

at Saginaw Park in

Valley

in Grand

State Rapids,

University,

and

and the Marshall seek out Fredericks sculpture parks Museum when

at at they Saginaw travel

such Valley as State Storm University, King Art Center and seek in New out sculpture Windsor,

New parks York, when Millennium they travel Park such in as as Chicago, Storm King and Art art

parks Center in in in Seattle. New Windsor, This brings New me York, to one Millennium

Park concerns in in Chicago, the Masts and expressed art parks in in about Seattle. the

last This ten brings years me trending to to one artists of of the away few from concerns largescale

the Masts outdoor expressed art in lieu about of installation the last ten or social years

practice trending which artists favors away from the art large-scale of interaction outdoor and

exchange art in in lieu of of instead installation of objects. or or social They practice are ready which to

develop favors the their art landscape of of interaction gallery and and exchange find them-

in-

inselvestead

of of with objects. fewer choices. They are I thought ready to to this develop might

lead their to landscape a concern gallery about the and devaluation find themselves of object with fewer by collectors choices. I but I thought Tim and this Marilyn might are lead not to to

worried a concern about about a shortage the devaluation of compelling of of the objects

in by general, collectors insisting but Tim the and object Marilyn market are is not thriving.

worried

about a shortage of of compelling objects in in

of the

few

John Stephenson, Twisted Earthscape #18,

general, insisting the object market is is thriving.

35x35x24, 1989.

John Stephenson, "Twisted Earthscape

#18", 35x35x24, 1989.


20

The Mast collection awakened me to domestic

collecting as a creative act, collector as maker,

collector as collage artist. 1 To continue this notion

of making, let us explore the significance of

creative freedom experienced by the domestic

collector as opposed to the institutional collector.

In addition to the benefit of the domestic collection

providing a nurturing, inspiring space to live

out daily routines (bills, meals, celebrations and

quarrels in front of the Peter Voulkos platter), the

domestic collection is free of the committee with

all its swaddling restrictive comforts, the collector’s

free range mobility to operate both at random

and by design is key to the construction of a

unique work of collection collage. The see it, like

it, buy it, notion that Marilyn described with delight

is not to be underestimated. Sure, a budget

is the dirty uncle of all collections, but the ability

to build as you go with a committee of one/two is

the fundamental (aesthetic) parting line inviting

whim, chance, and the development of a personal

taste that piles up consistent inconsistencies,

changes that are beautifully incremental

over a lifetime which begin to tell a provocative

and specific story, producing a narrative unlike

anything possible in a public collection. The collection

collage becomes a biography but transcends

complete self-portraiture or narcissism

as it can only be made up of multiple voices of

other people – artists and viewers whose touch

remains in the patina of works unlike anything in

a museum where physical interaction is forbidden,

the effect of which is to reduce everything

to the eye, the instrument of envy and longing,

where touch is the instrument of relation, intimacy,

and reciprocity. A whole universe of difference

opens up here in understanding the public

and private functions of collecting and it is in this

sense that the collector as cultural collage artist

is a lens through which I would like to continue

looking and writing on the psychic, aesthetic,

and material explorations of other collections.

1 Many of the great collections / collectors, however

varied, share this collage aspect: Breton, clearly, the

de Menil collection in Houston, the Isabella Gardner

collection in Boston; while the aesthete Adrian Stokes

late in life said that it was absolutely essential that we

develop an aesthetics of domesticity.

Tom Phardel, Disc, 65x60x6, 1992; steel, stone and bronze.

The Mast collection has safeguarded a unique

snapshot of a Michigan ceramic collaborative

called the Clay 10, a generation of artists

who came of age under the generation of Peter

Voulkos, Betty Woodman, Rudy Autio, Paul

Soldner, Ken Ferguson, Tony Hepburn, Robert

Turner, Ruth Duckworth, Hans Coper, and Lucie

Rie to name a few. The Clay 10 and others like

them across the country helped that “first generation”

complete the shift of traditional ceramics/pottery

into the realm of art - sculpture and

modernism. Together these two generations and

have influenced the past 25 to 40 years of ceramics

students through the continuum of modern

to post modern and contemporary practice.

The Clay 10 collaborative was generous in the

way they identified emerging talent and including

them in their exhibitions. Of particular interest

to Tim and Marilyn Mast during that time was,

and still is, the work of John Stephenson, former

University of Michigan department of ceramics

head, Susanne Stephenson, former Eastern

Michigan University ceramics department head,

and Tom Phardel, who leads the ceramic department

at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

These three imminent Michigan ceramicists were

leaders in the group and pivotal in a dense period

of the Mast’s collecting helping them to hone

their taste in expressive vessel and large sculptural

forms. A further exploring of the Clay 10 is to

follow in subsequent Detroit Research Volumes.


21

Ceramic and mixed media works coming out of

Cranbook Academy of Art, College for Creative

Studies, University of Michigan and Eastern

Michigan University among others shaped and

continue to lead the regional tradition of modernist/post-modern

exploration of the ceramic

object, and now clay and mixed media installation.

The Mast collection, though dominated by

clay, is not nostalgic for ceramics. Tim and Marilyn

collect ceramic and mixed media works as

seen in the work of Janet Neuwalder, and Sharon

Que, two of their most favored mid-career

artists, the early career artists such as the work

of Shannon Goff and Tom Lauerman, Phaedra

Robinson and Scott Hocking and emerging artists

they are keeping their eye on as “ones to

watch,” Kevin Beasley, Graem Whyte and Virginia

Rose Torrence among others, each working in

media spanning from ceramics to social practice.

All of these works have been discovered with

a great degree of interchange with and regard

for the Metro Detroit galleries and gallerists

who have brought emerging to blue chip artists

to the Mast’s attention. From their first purchase

at the International Art Gallery in downtown

Detroit, to the over fifty galleries listed in

an addendum to this article, five specializing in

ceramics up through the present. Tim and Marilyn

speak with gratitude about the gallerists who

guided their path as well as a deep sense of loss

about how the city’s economic challenges have

reduced the number and energy of the gallery

network to a handful, few of which now focus

on the exhibition of ceramics. This conversation

with the Masts about an entire disappeared

sector has explained so much of the shaking

heads of elders I am close to in the arts. I’ve

not had a clear sense of what they miss when

they speak of what used to be - until now. Understanding

this, their collections stared back

at me representing not only artists but the galleries

and associated networks, resources, and

community that have dissolved. Viewing the

Mast collection calls one to consider some of the

visionaries, curators, owners and dealers who

have played an important creative role in the

Masts’ path over the years; it is to grasp instantly

the sense of lost as well as newly unfolding visual

art terrains in Metro Detroit: Sam Wagstaff at

the Detroit Institute of Arts; Susanne Hilberry at

the Susanne Hilberry Gallery; George N’Namdi

for three decades as the George N’Namdi Gallery,

and now the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary

Art; Gertrude Kasle of the Gertrude

Kasle Gallery; Mary Preston of The Feigenson-

Preston Gallery; Alan and Dulcie Swidler at The

Swidler Gallery at which Paul Kotula was director;

Arlene Selik and Linda Ross of The Sybaris

Gallery; Corrine Lemberg of Lemberg Gallery;

Darlene Carroll of Wasserman Projects

(formerly with Lemberg Gallery); the collective

vision of Paul Kotula, Sandra Schemske, Meg

LaRou and Joanne Park-Foley at Revolution

Gallery; then Paul Kotula at Paul Kotula Projects;

Dick Goody at the Meadowbrook Gallery,

now the Oakland University Gallery; Mary Denison,

Sharon Zimmerman and now Nancy Sizer

at the Detroit Artist Market; and most recently

Monica Bowman at the Butcher’s Daughter, and

Simone DeSousa at Re:view Gallery among

other strong emergent galleries. The Mast’s

collection maps the intersection of these past

guides/ relationships and stands as a living testament

to one segmented era, an era that keeps

evolving and incorporating new landscapes.

If 80% of success is showing up, as Woody Allen

says, their collection reflects an exhausting,

open, probing approach to venue. Tim and Marilyn

Mast embrace the notion that the entire city

is a potential space of discovery and the regular

hierarchical breakdown between art venues

is far less determinate - they go everywhere in

hopes of seeing something fresh. (There is an

old French term, denicheur, hunter, which is used

to identify the art collector passionately and constantly

in search of just the right work, and a work


which, moreover, has not yet entered the

mainstream which, moreover, of appreciation has not yet or entered taste, the characterizatiostream

of which appreciation fits the or Masts taste, perfectly.) characterization Their

main-

commitment which fits the to education Masts perfectly.) and emerging Their commitment

comprehensive, to education their and emerging collecting artists practice is com-

de-

artists

is

fined prehensive, by exploratory their collecting participation. practice They defined tend by to

know exploratory the names participation. of younger They emerging tend to know talent the

yet names unheard of younger of by their emerging collecting talent peers yet unheard – they

look of by at their micro collecting studios peers as well – they as visit look to at megaart

studios fairs, Art as well Basel Miami, visit to pop-ups, megaart fairs, community Art Ba-

micro

centers sel Miami, and pop-ups, one day community happenings. centers In addition and one

day happenings. In addition to established galleries,

they regularly attend Gallery Project in

to established galleries, they regularly attend

Gallery Project in Ann Arbor, Motor City

Ann Arbor, Motor City Brewing, Next Step Studios,

and the Contemporary Art Institute Detroit

Brewing, Next Step Studios, and the Contemporary

(CAID) Art which Institute is a parent Detroit organization (CAID) which for Detroit is a

parent Contemporary organization Gallery, for Lady Detroit Bug Contemporary

Gallery, and

Gallery, Whitdel Lady Arts. Bug Pieces Gallery, playful and and Whitdel serious Arts. find

Pieces their way playful into the and collection serious like find a their toddler way sneaking

collection cookies into like the a grocery toddler basket. sneaking They cook-

find

into

the

ies themselves into at grocery capacity basket. for space, They but find unable themselves

stop the at momentum. capacity for They space, are but true unable collectors.

stop the momentum. They are true collectors.

to

But what is more, the Masts are known to the

But local what art is community more, the as Masts serious are contributors known to the of

local

time,

art

attention,

community

and

as

support

serious

to Michigan

contributors

artists

of

and arts organizations. The study and acquisition

of this collection of works lead Marilyn and

time, attention, and support to Michigan artists

and arts organizations. The study and acquisition

Tim Mast to a deep engagement with artists,

arts

of

and

this

culture

collection

and

of

educational

works lead

collecting

Marilyn and

institutions

Mast to in a Metro deep Detroit. engagement Their with participation artists,

Tim

arts in the and Detroit culture Institute and educational of Arts (DIA) collecting committee,

Friends in Metro of Modern Detroit. and Their Contemporary participation Art

institutions

in (FMCA), the Detroit an auxiliary Institute of of the Arts DIA, (DIA) and committee,

the Friends FMCA and of Modern Friends and of Prints Contemporary Drawings and Art

travel in

(FMCA), Photographs an auxiliary (FPDF) of formerly the DIA, known and travel as the in

the Graphic FMCA Arts and Society, Friends has of Prints had a Drawings significant and impact

on their (FPDF) knowledge formerly and friendships known as with the

Photographs

Graphic collectors Arts in Society, Detroit, Kansas has had City, a significant and beyond. impact

on their knowledge and friendships with

collectors in Detroit, Kansas City, and beyond.

The Masts have found a home at Cranbook

The

Academy

Masts

of

have

Art,

found

a board

a home

on which

at Cranbook

Tim has

Academy been a member of Art, a and board chaired on which the nominating Tim has

been committee a member over and the course chaired of the twelve nominating years.

committee Tim’s childhood over the wonderment course of for twelve Pewabic years. Pottery

continued childhood in wonderment his adult life as for he Pewabic devoted

Tim’s

Pottery continued in his adult life as he devoted

22

twenty years to their governing Board (including

chair) years and to exhibition their governing committee. Board (including One gets

twenty

chair) the sense, and exhibition hearing stories committee. of the One collection, gets the that

sense, it is a private hearing accretion stories of of the a very collection, social that engagement.

private Each accretion piece of is a about very social stories engagement. and people,

it is

a

Each remembrances piece is about of relationship stories and people, and inspiration, remembrances

manifestations of relationship of their support and inspiration, and encouragement

of more of their than support one hundred and encouragement and fifty ce-

manifestations

of ramic more artists. than one The hundred Masts’ and collection fifty ceramic has been artists.

rightly The influenced Masts’ collection by their has active been participation rightly influ-ienced

the intellectual, by their active museum, participation and student in the life intellec-

at the

tual, museum, and student life at the Cranbrook

Cranbrook Academy of Art. Masts have a deep

Academy of Art. The Masts have a deep connection

and understanding of the particular form of

connection and understanding of the particular

form of modernism from which the school was

modernism from which the school was born and

the born innovative and the innovative yet retreat-like yet retreat-like experience experience

Cranbrook offers. The school offers. attracts The school a slightly attracts more a

Cranbrook

mature slightly student more mature base, many student of whom base, have many been of

practicing whom have artists been and practicing many from artists divergent and fields many

who from bring divergent a high fields level of who professionalism bring a high to level their of

studio professionalism research and to their tend studio to produce research collectable

tend works to produce during collectable their educational works exploration. during their

and

Knowing educational and exploration. tracking each Knowing artist has become and tracking

each of intellectual/ artist has personal become past a sort time. of Marilyn intellec-

a

sort

and tual/personal Tim have past a zeal time. for the Marilyn artists and in their Tim collection

have

a zeal

-

for

there

the

are

artists

files

in

and

their

spreadsheets

collection - there

that

reflect this, evidences of the collector-trackerhunter.

The artists mark eras and historic events

are files and spreadsheets that reflect this, evidences

of the collector-tracker-hunter. The artists

mark eras and historic events and transi-

and transitions for the couple, “we acquired this

when...”

tions for the couple, “we acquired this when...”

Shirley White Black, Shirley Wing, White 10x20x14, Black, 1981. “Wing”, 10x20x14, 1981


23

Tim Mast Tim Mast

Janet

Janet Ayako

Ayako Neuwalder, Cocoon,

“Cocoon”, 11x17x12, 1990; and “Bundle” 8x11x10, 1989.

Mast Janet Ayako Neuwalder, “Cocoon”, 11x17x12, 1990; and “Bundle” 8x11x10, 1989.

Mast Tim Mast Janet Ayako Janet Ayako Neuwalder, Neuwalder, “Cocoon”, “Cocoon”, 11x17x12, 11x17x12, 1990; 1990; and “Bundle” and “Bundle” 8x11x10, 8x11x10, 1989. 1989.

per: Upper: Rebecca Rebecca

Upper: Tufts, Tufts,

Rebecca “Sliced “Sliced

Tufts- Loaf”, Loaf”,

Bhowmick, 6x8x3, 6x8x3, 2003;

2003;

per: Sliced Loaf, 6x8x3, 2003;

Lower: Upper: Rebecca Adele Rebecca Tufts,

Lower: Barres, “Sliced Tufts,

Adele “Kuru-Kuru”, “Sliced Loaf”, Loaf”, 6x8x3,

Barres, Kuru-Kuru, 1987. 6x8x3, 2003; 2003;

wer: Adele Barres, “Kuru-Kuru”, 1987.

wer: Lower: Adele Adele Barres, Barres, “Kuru-Kuru”, “Kuru-Kuru”, 1987. 1987. 1987.

1.

81.


24

Upper: David Shaner, “Cirque”, 5x19x19, 1993; Lower: Jun Kaneko, “Chunk” 16x13x3, 1989.

Upper: David Shaner, Cirque, 5x19x19, 1993; Lower: Jun Kaneko, Chunk,16x13x3, 1989.


25

Though Tim pursued law, and Marilyn teaching,

Though volunteer Tim pursued administrating, law, and and Marilyn the Unitarian teaching,

volunteer administrating, and the Unitar-

Though Tim pursued law, and Marilyn teach-

Church, ing, volunteer their social administrating, engagements and and the relationships

Unitarian

Church,

have taken

their social

place

engagements

among artists,

and

students,

reian

Church, their social engagements and relationships

curators, arts

have

administrators,

taken place

and

among

fellow

artists,

lationships have taken place among artists,

collectors

and curators, appreciators. arts administrators, Their interest and forms, fel-

students, curators, arts administrators, and fellow

texture collectors and meaning and appreciators. has encouraged Their interest

low collectors and appreciators. Their and interest

sup-

students,

in ported forms, emerging texture and meaning developed has talent encouraged

in forms, texture and meaning has encouraged

to explore

and the supported outer reaches emerging of their and medium. developed talent

and supported emerging and developed talent

to explore the outer reaches of their medium.

to explore the outer reaches of their medium.

Throughout and Throughout

my

my

education, education,

and and

conversations

conversations

like the my thoughts have

like

this

this

one one

with with

the the

Masts, Masts,

my my

thoughts

thoughts

have been rearranged. I am now thinking of collec-

have

been

been

rearranged. rearranged.

I am I am

now now

thinking thinking

of

of

collectors as artists, their private collections as pub-

collectors

as

as

artists, artists,

their their

private private

collections

collections

as lic (seen or unseen), and of the collector as

cross-trainer as

public public

(seen

(seen

or or

unseen),

- they unseen),

and

usually and

of

do of

the

this the

collector

side.’

‘on collector

the A as

point as

cross-trainer

cross-trainer

- -

they

of distinction they

usually

that usually

do

needs do

this

to be this

‘on

made ‘on

the is

that the

side.’

side.’

A throughout

A

point point

of their

of

distinction travel

distinction

that abroad

that

needs and

needs

to

in the

to

be

US, be

made made

is

Tim and

is

that that

throughout Marilyn

throughout

their have

their

travel remained

travel

abroad

committed

and

abroad

and in

to in

the building the

US, US,

Tim a Tim

and significant and

Marilyn Marilyn

have portion have

remained

of remained

committed their collection

committed

to

with artwork to

building building

a created a

significant significant

portion in Michigan, portion

of

by of

their

Michiganders, their

collection

collection

with or with

artwork artists artwork

created from various created

in places in

Michi-

Michi-

who

gan,

have gan,

or

fallen or

by by

Michiganders, into Michiganders,

or or fallen in love or

artists artists

from with Detroit. from

vari-

vari-

Like

ous

many ous

places

places

who other collectors who

have have

fallen a fallen

into simple into

or curiosity or

fallen fallen

in

grew in

love

into love with

a with Detroit. guiding Detroit. Like principle Like many of many other life – other collectors

an aesthetic collectors

of

a

domesticity a simple simple curiosity curiosity grew – which grew into has into a shaped a guiding guiding prin-

their social principle

life, ciple travel

of of life life and

– – an friendships an aesthetic aesthetic for

of

almost of domesticity domesticity fifty years,

––

which

and which in

has has turn

shaped shaped they have

their their shaped

social social life, the life, travel community travel and

and

friendships that friendships people for likely for almost almost have fifty been fifty years, years, shaped and and by, in in knowingly

they have and have unknowingly. shaped shaped the the community Their community collection that that reflects people people

a

turn turn

they

likely critical likely have have slice been of been Detroit’s shaped shaped history by, by, knowingly and knowingly culture, and and now

unknowingly. safeguarded unknowingly. against Their Their collection dispersion. collection reflects reflects Entire histories a a criti-

critical

housed cal slice slice along-side of of Detroit’s Detroit’s burgeoning history history and and visions, culture, culture, textures now now

safeguarded of safeguarded the future. against A against true collection dispersion. dispersion. collage. Entire Entire histo-

historieries

housed housed along-side along-side burgeoning burgeoning visions,

visions,

textures textures of of the the future. future. A A true true collection collection collage.

collage.

Pi Benio, Fetal Female Wrapped Form, 34x25x10, 1991.

Graham

Graham Marks, Marks,

Untitled, Untitled,

33x33x34, 33x33x34,

1987.

1987.

Pi Benio, “Fetal Female Wrapped Form”, 34x25x10, 1991.

Pi Benio, “Fetal Female Wrapped Form”, 34x25x10, 1991.


John John Stephenson, Stephenson, “Earth Auger, “Earth Auger”, Auger”, 12x24x13, 12x24x13, 1985.

1985.


26

obert Robert Sperry, Sperry, Untitled, Untitled, 28x28x4, 28x28x4, 1989. 1989.

obert Robert Sperry, Robert Sperry, Untitled, Sperry, Untitled, Untitled, 28x28x4, 28x28x4, 28x28x4, 1989.

1989. 1989.

Christian Christian Tedeschi, Tedeschi, Untitled, Untitled, 9x8x59x8x

Christian (metal Christian (metal stand Tedeschi, 11x10x5), stand Tedeschi, 11x10x5), Untitled, 2002.

Untitled, 2002. 9x8x5

9x8x

Christian Tedeschi, Untitled, 9x8x5

(metal (metal stand 11x10x5), stand 11x10x5), 2002.

2002.

(metal stand 11x10x5), 2002.

Marilyn Marilyn Mast Marilyn Mast Ma

Marilyn Marilyn Mast

Mas

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