March 26, 2018


Visiting Paul Chaleff Studio 3/24/2018

Follow the GPS … we drove on mountain roads snow still remaining. Through ranches and farmland we arrived at Paul’s studio in Ancram, NY.
As per the instruction from his email, we parked our car and walked into his studio; as soon as we stepped in, we caught sight of huge objects: two 7 feet tall boulders facing each other. It was one of his ceramic pieces.
Through the studio space … we kept made our way to the next room which was a large gallery space.
On the wall there was a series of four by four foot ceramic panels called “tablets”: on the floor, three-dimensional sculpture art pieces were laid out. It reminded us of the Dia Beacon Museum. A gasp and a sigh came from Nana Yamasaki who was with us. This signaled to Paul that we were there and he made his appearance from a back room.
With a full of smile he welcomed us.

We were invited into the living space at the back. The design was a pleasing functional space. Through a window we saw a beautiful clear blue sky and snow-covered field. Throughout, the room was filled with his collection of his friends’ art pieces.

Paul will be 71 years old next month. He teaches at a Hofstra University twice a week and lives his life between at an apartment in Brooklyn and the studio/ house upstate with his wife Haesook who is also a university professor.
He was born the son of a baker in the Bronx in 1947. He studied at the Bronx High School of Science, CCNY, and CUNY.
His path to art was opened up by one of his professors’ recommendation to follow his talent, when he saw his drawings for a biology class.
In 1972 he was greatly impressed by ceramics made by Rosanjin at the Japan Society. After a suggestion to go to Japan from Rand Castile, he was helped by the calligrapher Kampo Harada. He ended up working with Takashi Nakazato, the 13th generation of Karatsu pottery family. The potter Shigeyoshi Morioka and Paul were a part of Takashi’s early independent wood firing with the Ryuta-kiln. His encounter with these people drew him into the beauty of the Japanese world.
He returned to US and built a ANAGAMA wood-fired kiln in 1977. It was the 2nd Japanese-style ANAGAMA wood fired kiln in US. We heard Joy Brown, who studied with Shigeyoshi Morioka, also greatly supported Paul’s work. By the way, the first ANAGAMA wood fired kiln was built by Peter Callas in NJ just six months before Paul’s kiln.
In 1980, he was at the Metropolitan Museum looking at a showcase of Japanese pottery and noticed a mistake on the written description of one piece of Sueki. He explained the mistake to a gentleman who happened to be standing by and talking to Paul. It turned out that he was the Director of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, Arthur Drexler. He knew about Paul through Rand Castile. Later MoMA purchased four of his wood-fired works and placed them into the permanent collection. His pieces have continued to be collected by multiple museums.

Malcolm Wright studied at Karatsu with Tarouemon-kiln from 1968 to 1970, Paul Chaleff worked with Shigeyoshi Morioka and Takashi Nakazato in 1976 and 1977. Richard Bresnahan from Minnesota, Bob Okazaki from the US, Felix Strohmeier from Austria, and a Norwegian, Soren Ubish were all friends who worked with Nakazato and Morioka in the mid-1970’s. Felix passed away in 1977.

When you talk about the history of Japanese pottery in the United States, you cannot skip these people.


スタジオ訪問記 ポール シャレフ 3月24日2018年

E メールの指示通り車を停めドアを開けて中に入ると、いきなり巨大な作品が目に飛び込んで来た。高さ2mもあろうという岩がふたつ向き合っているようなセラミックの作品だ。
壁には“タブレット”と呼ばれる大きな陶板のシリーズ、床には3Dの彫刻作品が並ぶさまはディアビーコン ミュージアム を思わせる。
一緒に行った山崎ナナさんの感嘆の声に気づいたのか、奥の部屋からポール シャリフ氏が登場した。




1972年、ポールはジャパンソサエティーで魯山人の焼き物の肌合いに感銘を受ける。エイジアンアートの学芸員ランド カスティーリに日本行きを勧められ、書道家の原田観峰の助けを得て日本に行き、唐津の中里家13代目世代の隆の独立の頃の隆太窯の最初の窯焚きを森岡成好らと手がけることになる。

アメリカに戻って穴窯を建てた。1977年、アメリカで2番目の穴窯だったという。森岡成好のところで勉強していたジョイ ブラウンの助けも大きかったと聞いている。ちなみに一番古いのは、ニュージャージーのピーター カラスの穴窯、わずか半年前の事。

その人がデザイン部門をMoMAに設立した学芸員のアーサードレクスラーであった。アーサーはポールのことをランド カスティーリに聞いて知っていたという。

1968年から70年に唐津、太郎右衛門窯で修行したマルコムライト、1976、1977年、中里隆の隆太窯の最初の窯焚きを森岡成好らとともに手がけたポール シャリフ。
その仲間たちのミネソタのリチャード バーズナハン、同じくアメリカ人のボブ岡崎、オーストリア人のフェリックス ストーメイヤー、ノルウエー人のソーレン ウーベッシュ。皆、中里、森岡の窯で働いた。フェリックスは、1977年に不慮の事故で他界。