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Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders at Crocker

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Robots, created by self-proclaimed ‘mad scientist’ Clayton Bailey, are part of the "career spanning retrospective of 50 years of the work of contemporary sculptor Clayton Bailey".

The robots have arrived!
The exhibit opened Sat., October 23 and runs through January 15, 2012. Museum visitors will be delighted, tickled and surprised if yesterday’s opening is an accurate indicator. Clay and metal, including his signature “exploding pots,” disarming robot sculptures, and ray guns, inspired by science fiction and fashioned from discarded aluminum, had visitors laughing and jumping as they wandered past over 150 displays. Bailey’s alter-ego, Dr. George Gladstone,  showcases his pseudo-scientific discoveries, including proof of "Big Foot" and ceramic fossils from the "Bone Age,"  as a mockumentary titled “Wonders of the World Museum." Exhibition curator Diana L. Daniels notes that while Clayton Bailey is a major figure of Funk art, the American sculptural ceramics movement known for its playful sensibility, “He is serious about the craft of humor and making art. For more than five decades Bailey has made it acceptable to laugh at contemporary culture and even ourselves with objects that linger in the imagination.” After high school, Bailey had his sights set on being a pharmacist. He worked in a retail drugstore during high school and his first year in college.

"I got disillusioned with pharmacy after working five years for a drug store," he said.

Hints of his pharmacy background, perhaps.
So he looked for something else to do.

"I thought I’d decorate the windows in the drugstore instead," he explained. "And that’s how I discovered art."

He looked into it and the only art class available was ceramics. And he loved it so much it became his life.

"I stumbled into it accidentally," he said.

He set off in another direction – aluminum – after making a collection of skeletons for his “Wonders of the World Museum" in Port Costa, CA where he lives.

It occurred to him to make a robot barker to call people into the museum.That was the beginning of the robots.

He was a robot and made a costume of his own design. Then thought it would be good to make some robot-girlfriends and it took off from there.

Bailey builds life-sized robot sculptures — more than 100 in total — out of found objects.

He says he likes to build beauties and monsters. He builds robots that entertain and educate.Bailey studied with Harvey Littleton, the father of the contemporary glass movement, at the University of Wisconsin. Visiting instructors Bernard Leach, Toshiko Takaezu, and Peter Voulkos further shaped his approach. Bailey moved to California in 1968, settled in the Bay Area, and became a leading educator, teaching at California State University, Hayward for 26 years. His work is represented in collections from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

Clayton Bailey walks past one of his sculptures
This sculpture actually works as a magnifying glass (wood behind round piece is charred by sun’s rays).
A child has hands on fun in the interactive room.
Bailey signed copies of his book, “Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders.”
Learn more about Bailey HERE>>>
For more info about the exhibition, please visit  Crocker Art Museum


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