Louisville Modern: an era in art tells the story of the art scene in the Louisville, Kentucky-Southern Indiana area from the 1940s through the 1960s. It is both a personal account and an art-historical overview of a period that many categorize now as Mid-century Modern.
The book begins with the story of Madeline Covi, who experienced that scene firsthand. Her essay is followed by biographies of some of the artists who played major roles, some of whom went on to international renown and some of whom are still active. It was an interesting period. The art community was made up of woman’s club members, so-called society matrons, “Sunday painters,” housewives, commercial artists, university kids and their teachers, African Americans, GI Bill veterans and refugees from German oppression. It was a story that needed telling.
Artists discussed in the Covi essay include: Carl Brenner, Marcia Hite, Morris Belknap Jr., Worden Day, Juro Kubicek, Carl Holty, Edgard Pillet, Wayne Begley, Sally Drummond, Robert Carter, Ken Young, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Zalon, Leo Zimmerman, Constantin Brancusi, Franzee Dolbeare, Boris Margo, Carlos Merida, Charles Crodel, Charles James Wright, Donald Anderson, Aaron Siskin, Robert Doherty, Dan Boles, Gilles Giantini, Sam Richards, Tom and Virginia Marsh, Karl Martz and Heiki Seppa.
Artist biographies include: Maud Ainslie, Mary Louise Baringer, Fayette Barnum, Lou Block, Barney Bright, Orville Carroll, Paul Childers, Henry Chodkowski, G.C. Coxe, Mary Ann Currier, Lucy Diecks, William L. Fischer, Marguerite Gifford, Sam Gilliam, Charles Goodwin, Mary Alice Hadley, Ed Hamilton, The Hennings, The Kohlhepps. Romuald Kraus, Eugene "Bud" Leake Jr., Doris Leist, Alma Lesch, Frank Long, Marion Long, LaVerne Mahorney, Mary Spencer Nay, Jane Morton Norton, The Petersons, Paul Plaschke, John Prangnell, Charlotte Price, Martin Shallenberger, Walter Sorge, Bob Thompson, Ann Troutman, Ulfert Wilke, Constance Clark Willis and Wolf Zingraff.
Clear as Mud is an award-winning look at art pottery produced in Kentucky in the first half of the 20th century. It deals with such potteries as Cornelison Bybee, Waco, the Bybee Pottery Co. of Lexington (Selden-Bybee, Genuine Bybee), Louisville Pottery Co. (Cherokee), Kenton Hills Porcelains and Hadley. Such other ceramics as art tile, drain-tile premiums and Western Kentucky's "pinch pots" are included.
The book places in context what was going on in the commonwealth with what was happening in the rest of the South, especially North Carolina and Georgia, and touches on the influences brought onto the regional scene.
Each chapter is written by a known collector or scholar and contains a concise history of the pottery, including, if possible, known potters, dates of operation, catalogs, etc. In some cases the histories overlap or conflict; much that is known is not as clear as one would like, which explains our title. Also included are known marks and tips on identifying unmarked pottery.
Clear as Mud was the recipient of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze for Best South-East Regional Non-Fiction and a 2011 Kentucky History Award from the Kentucky Historical Society.