Contrasting Zinkpè’s monumental assemblage, was Moe Watanabe’s open box made from Walnut bark. Sublime in its simplicity and in the way it mixed the natural world with a man-made intervention, it was held together by “staples” also made from the wood bark.
“It’s something that I really believe in, this idea that craft can tell us something about ourselves,” Anderson said at tonight’s event, before introducing the New York writer and cultural icon Fran Lebowitz to announce the winner. She began, “I did ask [Jonathan] why this is called craft instead of art, because in my opinion the difference really is between useful and uselessness and most of these things are useless, which makes them art.” She continued: “Numerous times in my lifetime, there have been announcements—not by me—about the death of painting, the death of the novel, the death of this, and the death of that. None of these things are true, but the people who said them, they are dead, and that’s what it is.”
Finally, she announced the winner, the Japanese ceramicist Eriko Inazaki, adding “the jury commented on her exceptional take on ornamentation in ceramics, such as that has never been seen before.” At the exhibition, Inazaki’s vessel defied immediate references, bringing to mind sea creatures, laser explosions, and snow, caught mid-fall. “What I love about that work is you have no idea what it’s made of,” said Anderson, who is an avid ceramics collector. “It has an incredible sense of anxiety, which I quite like; and at the same time there is a depth of field, which is very unusual. You feel that you could get lost in it.”