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April Issue 2010

Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, Features Works by Nelson McCoy

The Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, will present the exhibit, N.C. Collects: The Real McCoy, featuring pottery by Nelson McCoy, on view from Apr. 23 through Sept. 12, 2010. This exhibit is the first in a series of exhibitions featuring private collections in North Carolina.

This exhibition of approximately 1,000 pieces of Nelson McCoy pottery is drawn from an extensive private collection. Acquired over a period of more than 15 years by collector Edward Alexander, the collection is made up of thousands of examples of McCoy pottery, including many outstanding uncommon, rare and one-of-a-kind pieces that are seldom seen anywhere. The collector was first intrigued by McCoy pottery when it was featured on the television series Martha Stewart Living. Alexander was attracted to the various colors, shapes and forms of the objects and became interested in seeing more. He soon began collecting McCoy pottery, focusing on examples from the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. Among the pieces included in the exhibition are: cookie jars, vases, planters and wall pockets.

McCoy Pottery was established as the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company in 1910 by father and son, J.W. and Nelson McCoy Sr. The company was established in Roseville, OH, because the area was well known for the availability of stoneware clay, and fuel to fire the kilns. Initially, the pottery produced all types of utilitarian stoneware such as churns, jars and jugs.

The company restructured in 1933 and changed their name to The Nelson McCoy Pottery Company, shifting their focus from utilitarian stoneware to decorative art pottery. The company began producing decorative pieces such as umbrella stands, jardiniëres and pedestals, vases and planters. This new focus on decorative pottery created an interest with collectors. The pottery designed by Sidney Cope and, later, his son Leslie, was instrumental in making McCoy pottery one of the most sought after in the country.

While Nelson McCoy Pottery closed in 1990, McCoy pottery gained even greater notoriety over the years; most recently, with the revelation of its place in the private collections of Pop icon Andy Warhol, and decorating guru Martha Stewart.

Related public programs and a gallery guide will accompany the exhibition.
This project received support from the Dan Cameron Family Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council, a vision of the Department of Cultural Resources.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 910/395-5999 or visit (www.cameronartmuseum.com).

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