Artist Recreates Childhood Toys Entirely Out of Clay


Kristen Morgin, Monopoly, 2007, unfired clay, paint and ink. Collection Kristen L. Morgin. Image courtesy of the artist and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills

Ceramicist Kristen Morgin will make all your favorite childhood objects look like they’ve been pulled out of the trash. Morgin’s unfired clay sculptures are faithful recreations of everyday objects like games and comic books, all looking somewhat worse for wear.

Morgin is one of four artists highlighted in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s exhibit “Visions and Revisions: Renwick Invitational 2016,” as Smithsonian magazine reports. She meticulously makes mass-produced goods by hand, such as the game of Monopoly above. Inspired by seeing the board game in her studio, according to Smithsonian, Morgin spent a year getting her sculpted version just right.

Kristen Morgin, Third of May Playset, 2006, glazed ceramic. Collection of Kristen L. Morgin. Image courtesy of the artist and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills

She used clay to fashion everything from the play money to the handful of hotels placed on the board. There’s even a top hat token and a little iron piece (recently replaced with a cat in new versions of the game). You might not be able to shuffle through your money without cracking that $100 bill in half, but if you tried, you could play close to a full game, with get-out-of-jail-free cards and all.

Kristen Morgin, 150 Ways to Play Solitaire, 2010, wood, wire, unfired painted clay. Collection of Akemi Maegawa. Image courtesy of the artist and Feuer/Mesler, New York

Morgin’s other works include careful recreations of playing cards, old magazines, wrecked cars, decaying pianos, household tools, and comic books, all designed to look like they’ve been sitting in a junk yard for years, but made of unfired clay and paint. “[Her] sculptures represent a poignant investigation of the value of the old in a world intent on the new, invoking a sense of bygone innocence, loss, and isolation,” as the curators of the Smithsonian American Art Museum write in their exhibition materials.

Morgin’s sculptures will be on display at the museum until January 8, 2017.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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