Mary Tuthill Lindheim: Agent of Change
The most comprehensive solo show ever of the life and work of this important Bay
December 10, 2011 - January 15, 2012
Reception: December 10, 5-7 pm
Curatorial Talk by Heather Murray and Book Signing by Abby Wasserman: December 10,
The Marin Museum of Contemporary Art at Hamilton Field in Novato will present MARY
TUTHILL LINDHEIM: AGENT OF CHANGE, featuring the work of the late Bay Area ceramicist,
sculptor, and activist, Mary Lindheim (1912-2004). It will be the first museum exhibition
of Lindheim’s work since her death, and the most comprehensive solo show ever of
MarinMOCA Executive Director, Heather Murray, will curate the exhibition in close
collaboration with the artist’s estate and Abby Wasserman, editor and essayist of
the recently published Mary Tuthill Lindheim: Art and Inspiration (Cameron
and Company, 2010). The exhibition honors Lindheim, who lived in Sausalito and Bolinas
for the last 65 years of her life, not only as an artist but as someone passionately
dedicated to social justice.
MARY TUTHILL LINDHEIM: AGENT OF CHANGE encourages the viewer to consider the historical
and material importance of an artist who created with a true awareness of the impact
an artist can make in and out of the formal art world. Although visitors to the
exhibition will likely associate the title with Lindheim’s socio-political activism,
the phrase "agent of change" also refers to the physical transformations an artist
makes to her/his medium. This is particularly true in the case of a ceramic artist,
who transforms earth into art and must understand and employ the chemical transformations
of ceramic glazes under the heat of the kiln.
Mary Tuthill Lindheim, a native of New Jersey who spent her youth in Tucson, Arizona,
was especially prominent in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, years during which she worked
tirelessly on behalf of Bay Area art organizations to which she belonged. An exhibiting
sculptor when she began her ceramics studies in 1946, she received a scholarship
for advanced research in ceramics in her second semester at the California College
of Arts and Crafts. Five years later, she was elected president of the Association
of San Francisco Potters. She was concurrently an active leader in the older organization
San Francisco Women Artists. Sometimes her dual involvement in art and activism
dovetailed, but sometimes they were at odds, challenging her ability to actively
promote her own career. She would have it no other way.
A passionate advocate for studio craft (which at the time was not considered a "fine
art"), Lindheim contributed to the public discourse about ceramics by publishing
in Craft Horizons and Ceramics Monthly. In 1958 she was one of the founding
members of Designer-Craftsmen of California, and in 1966 she began years of volunteer
work organizing and improving the Sausalito Art Festival. She served many times
as juror for exhibitions in Marin and San Francisco as well as out of state, and
taught ceramics and arts and crafts classes at the California Labor School and the
California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute), among others.
Throughout her career she traveled and exhibited extensively, but kept her roots
in the Bay Area. Her work is now in the John Magnani Memorial Collection at San
Francisco State College, the Bolinas Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum
of California, Arizona State University, and Mills College, among others.
There will be a lecture by curator Heather Murray and a book signing by Abby Wasserman
on Saturday, December 10, 4-5pm.
MARY TUTHILL LINHDEIM: AGENT OF CHANGE is made possible in part by the generous
lending of works and support of her estate, as well as lending of work by Bolinas
Museum and the Crocker Art Museum. Additional support provided by the Clay and Glass
Artists of California.