The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay.
Through the display of its permanent collections and special exhibitions, as well as through studio education, programs that engage diverse communities, and major contributions to scholarship, the Gardiner champions ceramics.
Support from the community is vital to the Gardiner’s ability to continue to provide
There’s more to the Gardiner than our collections. Take a clay class, learn about the art of ceramics with world-renowned guest speakers, or join us for one of our many special events.
Executive Chef Bianca Azupardo presents inspired seasonal menus that showcase locally-sourced ingredients, complemented by stunning views of the city.
You're invited on a journey from the steamy kitchens of cooks who advocated light, flavourful cuisine centuries before our time to the dining rooms of connoisseurs who relished their meals served on newly-invented vessels. Be transported back to the 18th century through stunning objects, decadent recipes, amusing stories, and theatrical sets. Plan your visit to Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment now!
On December 10, award-winning Cree journalist Connie Walker moderates a panel featuring exhibiting artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Kali Spitzer, as well as Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Health Association. The conversation will centre on the role of visual art in addressing the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, queer, and trans community members. Get tickets now!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Everyone can love clay! Become a Friend at one of the world’s great specialty museums and enjoy the benefits, including unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition previews and special events, discounts on lectures and clay classes, and more.
Clay has always been a little gay. Historically associated in the West with the decorative and the domestic, ceramics has long been regarded as a feminized practice with a particularly strong queer dimension because of its status as a subaltern, or less than, painting and sculpture.
Ceramics was also integral to the feminist reclamation of art practices in the 1970s—the most famous example perhaps being Judy Chicago’s monumental installation The Dinner Party. Post-Stonewall, a generation of male artists in the Canada and the U.S., including Léopold Foulem, Paul Matheiu, and Richard Millete began queering the medium, embedding camp, kitsch, and sexually suggestive imagery in their work.
Now, there are a multitude of artists working in the U.S. and Canada who are using clay to explore queerness and continuing to push the boundaries of the medium. Here are just a few of those artists who we think you should know:
Léopold L. Foulem
Léopold L. Foulem’s subversive ceramics combine playfulness and humour with historical references to the decorative arts. Celebrated both as an artist and teacher, Foulem mentored other notable ceramists including Richard Milette, Paul Matheiu, and Jeannot Blackburn. He played a leading role in broadening the scope of Canadian ceramics to include explicitly political and social content, and was named to the Order of Canada in 2019.
As an undergraduate student at Alfred University, Ayumi Horie developed a unique process called “dry throwing,” a waterless method that encourages the natural textures and movements of clay: stretching, cracking, and sagging. She advocates for social engagement and action both through her own ceramics and as the founder of the popular Instagram account @potsinaction. In 2016, Horie co-founded The Democratic Cup project, a collaboration between 35 illustrators and potters that uses handmade cups to encourage civil conversations about social and political issues.
Kathy King uses satirical humor, irony, and sarcasm to approach issues of gender and sexuality, often featuring lesbian and feminist imagery in her ceramics. She cites comic books and tattoos among her inspirations, connecting her work in clay to her drawing practice. Her use of sgraffito, an etching technique, makes clear reference to her training as a printmaker.
The first ceramic artist to win the prestigious Turner Prize, Grayson Perry is known for his brightly-coloured ceramic vessels and tapestries that draw on autobiographical and pop culture imagery to chronicle contemporary life. A self-identified transvestite, Perry’s work often features the artist as his female alter-ego Claire.
Dustin Yager is a ceramic artist whose work deals with popular perceptions of pottery, taste, and class. Combining traditional materials and methods with explicit imagery, depictions of gay sex become cheeky adornment for his finely thrown porcelain forms. Yager actively engages with queer theory in his work, combining high and low cultural references à la Grayson Perry, as interpreted by a younger generation.
 Juicy Banana, Léopold L. Foulem, 1976, Gift of Léopold L. Foulem  Priest in Black Cassock with Boy on Mount, Léopold L. Foulem, 2012, The Diana Reitberger Collection  Octopus Jar, Ayumi Horie  Plate by Kathy King  Alan Measles and Claire Visit The Rust Belt (views of both sides), Grayson Perry, 2017  Plate by Dustin Yager
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7