Tony Marsh (artist)

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For other people named Tony Marsh, see Tony Marsh (disambiguation).
Tony Marsh
'Trilobed Vessel and Contents' from the Perforated Vessel Series, glazed earthenware by Tony Marsh (American born 1954), 2002, Metropolitan Museum of Art.jpg
'Trilobed Vessel and Contents' from the Perforated Vessel Series, glazed earthenware by Tony Marsh, 2002, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Born (1954-05-26)26 May 1954
New York City, United States
Nationality American
Education California State University, Long Beach BFA (1978)
Apprenticeship under Japanese potter Shimaoka (1978 – 1981)
New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University MFA (1989)
Known for Ceramic art

Anthony J. "Tony" Marsh (born May 26, 1954)[1] is an American contemporary ceramic artist. He lives and works in Long Beach, California.


Born in New York City, Marsh first learned about ceramics after he injured his rotator cuff playing baseball in his last year of high school. He had never been that good of a student and was sent by his guidance counselor to the pottery lab at his high school to receive a discipline from the strict and dedicated professor. The day he walked into the lab, he never left, from then on he knew he would be working with clay.[2] Marsh received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1978 from California State University, Long Beach. From 1978 to 1981, Marsh studied as an apprentice under Japanese potter Shimaoka, in Mashiko, Japan. After receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1989 from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Marsh returned to CSU Long Beach to teach in the art department's ceramics program. He has been the department chair for ceramics at CSU for much of his tenure career.

Marsh credits his experience in Japan with much of his personal development: "Working every day at pottery seems now to have served as a vehicle for great lessons that have stayed with me. I painfully taught myself to speak another language, which in turn allowed me to begin to see the world through the lens of another culture. I was introduced daily to the power, beauty, and confines of history."[this quote needs a citation] In this way, the work that Tony Marsh creates is many times refers to the homage of ceramics he hopes to provoke in his work.

Shimaoka's method provided an example for Marsh that contrasted with his experience of art-making in the United States. Marsh says of his time spent at Shimaoka's pottery:

"His art was not the art school stuff (my frame of reference) of taking aim at the fringe in order to explore the new. Nor was it an overly self-conscious attempt at radical expression. His art was homage and a walk through the heart of an enormous and rich pan-Asian ceramic tradition. I have always thought that it seemed more difficult to add to a rich history in a meaningful way when the measuring-stick, by which the contribution will ultimately be understood, is long."[this quote needs a citation]

Description of work[edit]

Marsh's description of his own work:

"I am fascinated by [the ceramic vessel's] deep and unparalleled history and position between nature and culture. While the vessels that I make are not utilitarian nor do they specifically refer to an historical pottery type or style, I believe that I use them as a device to address the essential. On a simple level they do attempt to pay homage to what pottery from around the world has always been required to do: hold, store, preserve, offer, commemorate, and beautify. In the end, whether it might be a vase on a table, an empty coin bank, the bowl on the night stand, a burial urn or a ballot box, what could be more natural than to put something in a vessel? " [3]

As these images of Tony's most current work provide, he has been interested in the history of the vessel, while developing a new language for this. This language asks the simple question of what to hold? The items he chooses to contain create a discussion of curiosity and interest. Some of Marsh's earlier work has many times been referred to ideas of play, whether it be the game like parts, such games as Bao, a traditional African game or Perfection, an early 90's children's game. He also plays with the capabilities of clay in the conscious contradiction of material with his attempts to make items float or to be fully perforated. Tony has referred to this idea of perforation and floating with, "gravity is what ceramics is about" [4] He discusses the element of clay and its boundaries such as a material of the earth that has a very evident weight as " a thorn,"[5] you can choose to react or obey these boundaries, and clearly Tony has made the choice to react.


  • 1996
    • Drockman Distinguished Alumni Award, Alfred University, New York, New York
  • 1998
    • Individual Artist Fellowship, Public Corporation for the Arts, Long Beach
    • Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award, California State University, Long Beach
  • 2005
    • Curator: Scripps 61st National Ceramics Exhibition

Selected Public Collections[edit]

  • Museum of Art & Design, New York, NY
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
  • Museum of Contemporary International Ceramic Art, Inchon, South Korea
  • San Jose, Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
  • Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA
  • Minneapolis Institute for the Arts, Minneapolis, MN
  • Taipei Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
  • Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Canada
  • Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ
  • The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI
  • ASU Art Museum, Tempe, AZ
  • Foshan Museum of Contemporary Art, Foshan, China
  • Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
  • Daum Museum, Sedalia, MO
  • Cranbrook Museum of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • Resnik Collection of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
  • Foothills Art Center, Golden, CA
  • Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA
  • General Mills Corporation, Minneapolis, MN
  • Alfred University, Alfred, NY
  • Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA
  • Napa Valley College, Saint Helena, CA
  • Walnut Creek Art Center, Walnut Creek, CA
  • Takumi Folk art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • Jinro Cultural Foundation, Seoul, South Korea
  • Hong-Ik University, Seoul, South Korea
  • Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, CA
  • Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA
  • Anderson Consulting, Los Angeles, CA
  • AT&T, Cerritos, CA


Further reading[edit]

Books and Catalogues[edit]

  • Clark, Garth. The Artful Teapot. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001.
  • Del Vecchio, Mark. Postmodern Ceramics. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001.
  • Lauria, Jo. Color and Fire – Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950–2000 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rizzoli International Publications, New York, 2000.
  • Lynn, Martha Drexler. Clay Today: Contemporary Ceramists and Their Work, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chronicle Books, San Francisco
  • Peterson, Susan. Contemporary Ceramics. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2000.


  • ____. “Bay Area Potters”, Studio Potter, Winter/1985.
  • ____. “West Coast Clay”, Artweek, May 1995, Vol. 26, No. 5.
  • ____. “Acquisitions”, American Craft, April/May 1997, p. 31.
  • ____. “Interview with American Artist Tony Marsh”, Korean Monthly Art Magazine, August 1994, p. 142.
  • ____. Kerameiki Techni, Panorama, Exhibition Notice, Summer 1996.
  • ____. “Exhibition Review”, Artweek, October 17, 1993, Vol. 24, No. 19.
  • ____. Photo, American Craft, August/September 1983, Vol. 43, No. 4, p. 62.
  • ____. “Building a Ceramics Program at the Mendocino Art Center”, Mendocino Beacon, February 6, 1984, p. 4.
  • Cavener, Jim. “Exhibition Review”, San Gabriel Valley Weekly, January 26, 1996, p. 10.
  • Colby, Joy Hakanson. “Exhibition Review”, The Detroit News, March 8, 1991.
  • Deragon, Rick. “Tony Marsh”, American Ceramics, 1995 Vol. 11, Issue 4, p. 56.
  • Hohenboken, Steve. “Tony Marsh”, The New Art Examiner, Summer, 1996.
  • Lagorio, Irene. “Review”, Monterey Peninsula Herald, August 14, 1983.
  • Lauria, Jo. “Dialogues in Clay: A Conversation between Tony Marsh & Kurt Weiser”, Ceramics Art and Perception, December 2002, Issue 50, pp. 8– 13.
  • Mansfield, Janet. “Exhibition Review”, Ceramics: Art and Perception, 1998, Issue 31, p. 33.
  • Marsh, Tony. “Juror’s Statement”, Ceramics Monthly, November, 1991.
  • Melrod, George. "Tony Marsh Profile", Art Ltd.: West Coast Art + Design, March 2007, p. 73.
  • Merino, Tony Dubis. “Tony Marsh’s Puzzling Narratives”, Contact, (Spring 1998), pp. 21–23.
  • Ollman, Leah. "Exhibition Review", Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2007.
  • Pincus, Robert L. “Exhibition Review”, Los Angeles Times, February 3, 1984.


Tony Marsh - Ceramicist. The University of Colorado department of Fine Arts presents Tony Marsh, "What Follows."


  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ Tony Marsh - Ceramicist. The University of Colorado department of Fine Arts presents, Tony Marsh, "What Follows."
  3. ^ Marsh, Tony. General Artist's Statement, December 2001
  4. ^ Tony Marsh - Ceramicist, "The University of Colorado department of fine arts presents, Tony Marsh, What Follows." Interview with Kim Dickey from Colorado University at Boulder.
  5. ^ Tony Marsh - Ceramicist, "The Univsesity of Colorado department of fine arts presents, Tony Marsh, What Follows." Interview with Kim Dickey from Colorado University at Boulder.
  6. ^


  • Marsh, Tony. "Art as Homage", Studio Potter 29, number 2.
  • Marsh, Tony. General Artist's Statement, December 2001.
  • Lauria, Jo. "Dialogues in Clay: A Conversation Between Tony Marsh and Kurt Weiser", Ceramics: Art and Perception no. 50, 2002. pp. 8–13.
  • Tony Marsh at Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels
  • Tony Marsh at Hedge, San Francisco, CA

External links[edit]