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Ceramic Artist Mark Burns Presents Two Shows 
at Hartford Art School

Posted 02/28/2019
Posted by Jesele Paragone

Nest Egg by Mark Burns

Nest Egg by Mark Burns

Nationally and internationally recognized ceramic artist Mark Burns will present two shows of ceramic artwork–Blue Collar Ornament and An Impolite Aesthetic–at the University of Hartford’s Joseloff Gallery in March. The opening reception will be held from 5–7 p.m. on March 7, and the shows remain on view through March 29. The two shows are made possible by the Georgette and Richard Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts Fund, which brings visiting artists to the Hartford Art School (HAS) every year. Burns is the current Koopman Chair at HAS.

"Ceramics is many things to many people,” says Burns. “Your grandmother’s fine china. A favorite cup or mug you purchased at some hippie shop in the 1960s. Something you bought in a gift shop to remind you of having visited Mount Rushmore. Salt and pepper shakers shaped like anthropomorphic vegetables. All these things might be considered polite, as they carry all the things we hold dear when we think of things made of clay. Pretty. Useful. Polite. These shows are a different side of ceramics."

Mark Burns's solo show, Blue Collar Ornament contains his recent works in clay, whereas the second show, An Impolite Aesthetic, includes work by 13 nationally renowned artists whom he personally invited to campus. He describes this curated study of pop culture, kitschy animals, unusual figures, and cornfield art as “things your grandmother wouldn’t put in her breakfront."

About the Mark Burns–Mark Burns is a ceramic artist and educator who creates narrative, personal works with a pop sensibility and sardonic humor. Simultaneously enticing and unsettling, his body of work embraces bad taste, strangeness, sex, and politics. His sensibility is often ascribed to his queer identity, and his visibility in the field has reoriented questions of suitable subject matter and created a platform for other artists to explore traditionally taboo content. Burns found early success after completing his graduate studies at the University of Washington. He has taught at universities and colleges around the country, including the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania and the Rhode Island School of Design. He was a 2016–2018 artist in residence at Harvard University. Throughout his career, Burns has exhibited widely and collected by many museums including the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Mark Burns was elected a Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2018.

About the Koopman Chair–The Georgette and Richard Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts is an annual artist-in-residency program that brings prominent artist/teachers to the Hartford Art School. For the academic year 2018-19, Mark Burns presents recent works while also working with students in the HAS Ceramics Department.


Spread across seven dynamic schools and colleges, the University of Hartford has been guiding the purpose and passion of students for over six decades. On our 350-acre campus alongside Connecticut’s capital city, approximately 5,000 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate students from 48 states and 46 countries come together for a common purpose: to collaborate across different disciplines, diversify perspectives, and broaden worldviews. We’re a four-year private university focused on advancing the public good through meaningful connections within our communities. Our unique approach to comprehensive education gives us the critical perspectives that lead to impactful change, regionally and beyond. With degree programs spanning the arts, humanities, business, engineering and technology, education, and health professions, we focus on doing the work that matters.

The University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School offers a rigorous studio-based education that is an integral part of a thriving university environment. Faculty includes professional artists, designers, and historians who teach classes in ceramics, illustration, media arts, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, visual communication design, and art history. Hartford Art School’s 310 undergraduate and 90 graduate students have access to a large University library, University-wide lectures, and expertise in other colleges. For more information about Hartford Art School, visit

Nest Egg by Mark Burns

Nest Egg by Mark Burns